Archived Story

Council controversy continues

Published 11:44am Thursday, January 17, 2013

In the course of the last two Dadeville City Council meetings, City Clerk Sharon Harrelson resigned, the city once again discussed hiring of a city mechanic, Councilman Mickey Tarpley pointed out flaws in the way the city has been operating and the city appointed a new member of the water board, amidst controversy – all within a one-week period.

Councilman Mickey Tarpley addressed concerns to the council Tuesday at its regularly scheduled council meeting.

“One of the first things we approved was to hold all of our meetings according to Robert’s Rules of Order,” Tarpley said. “We have been in violation of those ever since then.”

Tarpley said all meetings  that had taken place since the ordinance had been approved could be considered invalid and could open the city up to lawsuits. Issues include people being permitted to speak without being on the agenda and not following other proper procedures in regards to meeting conduct.

Tarpley also expressed his concern with the city’s financial state.

“We have had no financial statements,” Tarpley said. “That needs to be corrected … we need to know where we stand, general fund-wise, on a month-to-month basis.”

Tarpley also requested the council consider requiring the meeting agenda be posted by Friday afternoon to allow council members more time to prepare for the issues to be presented.

Tarpley said it doesn’t matter how things have been done – what matters is moving forward.

“If we don’t quit living in the past, we’re all going to die pretty soon,” Tarpley said.

Back on the agenda Tuesday was the appointment of a new member of the Water and Sewer Board. The appointment had been tabled because of concerns that people were not given enough time to express interest in the position.

Mayor Joe Smith said a couple of people had expressed interest to him, and he recommended Laeman Butcher.

“I’ve served on every board in this town,” Butcher said. “I think it’s a

community service, and I’d be most happy to serve and donate (the paycheck) to charity.

Councilman Frank Goodman, a member of the board, said the board’s recommendation was Richard White.

After a motion by Randy Foster and a second by Billy Monroe to appoint White, Smith said he wanted to make a motion to appoint Butcher.

The council said Smith could not make a motion while a motion was already on the table.

With the original motion put to a vote, Foster and Monroe voted in favor. Councilman Pat Potts did not vote, Tarpley voted against and Goodman abstained.

With the motion effectively tabled because not all council members voted and discussion was not encouraged, Smith was then allowed to make his motion, which was not seconded by anyone.

Foster once again motioned to appoint White, which was again seconded and unanimously approved, according to the proper rules of order.

The Thursday Dadeville City Council meeting ended with the resignation of City Clerk Sharon Harrelson.

Harrelson said she could no longer deal with Mayor Joe Smith and addressed him during her comments.

“You do not have any business up here, incompetent as you are, running this city,” Harrelson said. “I have done your job since you set foot in that office, and you know it.”

Harrelson apologized to the council for leaving.

“All this drama – we could have our own reality show, and I guarantee you it would be better than Honey Boo Boo,” Harrelson continued. “Like I told (Smith), this is not a b******g session. This is to handle business for the city.”

Harrelson said it seems like Smith is trying to run the other council members and the city attorney out of town.

“You don’t get your way, and you start throwing your little fits,” Harrelson said. “Every campaign promise you made, they all failed, so you’re still trying to dig up – excuse me – s**t. You’re just digging, digging, every day.

“You should be ashamed of yourself for bringing all of this drama into this city.”

Harrelson’s resignation is effective Jan. 25.

The council also discussed the logistics of hiring a city mechanic part time versus full time or whether the city needed to hire a mechanic at all. Currently the city pays a prisoner to do the mechanic job.

Although the position was initially posted as full time, Smith recommended hiring Julius Wolfe part time.

“He worked for the city for 12 years,” Smith said. “He’s honest, and he can fix nearly anything except these new cars.”

Goodman had initially requested the position be posted full time. Several councilmen said they couldn’t hire someone part time after posting it full time.

The council voted unanimously to repost the opening for a mechanic as a part-time job.

At its Thursday meeting the council also:

- decided not to allow a citizen to put up a temporary structure to cover his boat on city property

- heard from Fire Chief Kenneth Thompson that Roy Mathis is retiring at the end of February and agreed to post the job for 10 days

- discussed whether to allow the fire department to hire an additional full-time employee at the fire department

- voted to send one of the fire trucks to Decatur for necessary repair, pending more information from Thompson

- voted to hire Abbigale Mangarelli as the new Dadeville Public Library director at $23,000 annually

- voted to change meetings back to the second and fourth Tuesdays instead of first and third to resolve issues with paying bills, effective in February

- heard concerns and discussed the city laws regarding discharging a firearm within the city limits

- voted to allow city employees on call, even those living outside the city limits, to retain their use of city vehicles.

At its Tuesday meeting the council also:

- agreed to make the interlibrary loan clerk position at the Dadeville Public Library full time instead of part time

- granted J.R. Lucas a pawn shop license

- agreed to renew Workers Comp Insurance with Trey Henig

- heard comments for Coach Phillip Baker and agreed to consider donating money toward the creation of an outdoor, public-use basketball court

- heard a request from chamber President Karen White and Michael Carter, president elect, to move the chamber’s office into the new city hall, which the council agreed to consider, pending the legality

The audio transcript of Harrelson’s resignation is available online at www.alexcityoutlook.com.

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