The Marshall County Post

Follow Us On:

Heated City Council Meeting

Posted on Friday, May 31, 2024 at 6:00 pm

TRACY HARRIS – Staff Writer –

Lewisburg City Council met May 14 at 6 p.m. and opened with prayer by Steven Davenport, Pastor of Destiny Church-Lewisburg followed by Pledge of Allegiance. Councilmembers voted in the following order:Tommy Burns, Patty Parsons, David Perka, Joe Bradford, Vickie Michael.

The first order of business was swearing in David Perka who was appointed as Ward 3 City Councilmember on May 6.

Donald Green received a Certificate of Appreciation for 21 years of service from Mayor Jim Bingham and Director of Parks & Recreation Cary Whitesell.

Citizen’s Input was next. Eddie Wiles, Industrial Development Board Chairman expressed his support for Pete Brown’s appointment to the Industrial Development Board (IDB).

A stay at home mom with five children from Ward 3 said she wants to keep Harmon Park clean this summer and wants to do activities for the community there.

Ronnie Robinson made the final comment, “I’m one of the candidates along with Mr. Mayberry that was up for Ward 3 seat. Obviously Mr. Perka was chosen and I congratulate him. But, I’m also here to thank a couple of people. I want to thank Joe Bradford and Tommy Burns. I’m not going to preach, but God’s in control of everything – what goes on and what’s done. God saw I needed time with my grandchildren and my children. They needed someone else on their list to make sure I wasn’t chosen; so, I thank y’all for that. I thank y’all for calling around and getting someone else to run against me. When this position comes open again in 2026 – I’m not sure if I’ll be here but if God’s willing, I will be – I may decide to run then. The only part about it is, neither one of y’all will get to vote yes or no for me. So, I appreciate what you’ve done. Thank you for this time.”

New Business began with Resolution 24- 17 which allows the City to enter into an agreement with Schultz Engineering Group to conduct a facilities audit to see what equipment is needed for air quality at the rec center. The cost is covered by ARPA funds. Whitesell said this will help the pool area with overall air quality, eliminating the smell of chemicals, and the humidity. Passed 4 – 1 with Burns as the only no vote.

The project for the E. Church St. Bridge moved a step forward. The Council approved new contract terms with TDOT where the City is required to provide a local grant match of $22,200. Bingham said when it’s completed, it will be similar to the bridge on E. Commerce St. Pedestrians will cross the street underneath the bridge by using the Rock Creek Park walkway. Passed 5 – 0.

Resolution 24 -21 authorized an “Easement Deed” to United Communications on two tracts of land owned by the City around the West-Side Fire Station. Passed 5 – 0.

The minimum lot size for R -3 Zoning (High Density Residential) increased from 7,500 sq. ft. to 9,000 sq. ft. Passed 5 – 0.

The Lewisburg Municipal Code will adopt the 2021 Fire Code as well as several amendments in Chapter 7. Passed 5 – 0.

Next, the Council moved to appointments and reappointments on Boards, Committees, and Commissions. First was appointing Councilmember Bradford to Lewisburg Water and Wastewater Board by Mayor Bingham, passed 4-0. Bradford did not vote.

Next was the appointment of Pete Brown to Industrial Development Board for a 6 – year term by Councilmember Michael. IDB is the only board where a Councilmember can recommend an appointment instead of the Mayor.

Eddie Wiles told The Post on Monday, May 20, that the IDB has not had a quorum since July 2023 when Wally Ritter didn’t renew his term. Not having a quorum means a board cannot vote on any business matters. There are nine seats on the board. They need five to meet their quorum. With the current eight members, they are one member short. i.e. If four members voted yes and four members voted no, there is not a ninth vote to decide which side prevails.

Wiles said three or four months ago, they discussed filling that vacancy and Dave Kennedy mentioned Brown’s name. Brown expressed interest a month or so later so the IDB made a motion to have him serve on the board. The motion passed and Wiles contacted Councilmember Michael to inform her.

Councilmember Michael brought it to the Work Session on May 7 to be placed it on the regular agenda.

Pete Brown’s appointment failed by a vote of 3-2. Councilmembers voted in the following order: Burns-no, Parsons-yes, Perka-no, Bradford-no, Michael-yes.

The following were all reappointments by Mayor Bingham:

  • Quinn Brandon Stewart to Lewisburg Gas Board 4 year term, passed 3-2.  Councilmembers voted in the following order: Burns-yes, Parsons-yes, Perka-no, Bradford-no, Michael-yes.
  • Bob Phillips Zoning Appeals Board 2 year term, passed 3-2.  Councilmembers voted in the following order: Burns-no, Parsons-yes, Perka-no, Bradford-yes, Michael-yes.
  • Randy Belote Community Development Board 3 year term, passed 5-0.
  • Robin Minor Historic Zoning Commission 5 year term, passed 5-0.
  • Barbara Woods Planning and Zoning Commission 3 year term, passed 5-0.
  • Eddie Tears Lewisburg Electric Board 4 year term, passed 5-0.
  • Joe Harris Lewisburg Water and Wastewater Board 2 year term, passed 5-0.
  • Julie Johnson Zoning Appeals Board 3 year term, passed 5-0.
  • Elinor Foster Stormwater Board of Appeals 1 year term, passed 5-0.
  • Carl Warren Stormwater Board of Appeals 3 year term, passed 5-0.
  • Lisa Jackson, Cheryl Taylor, and Scott Vernon “Tree City USA” Committee 2 year terms, passed 5-0.

Next on the agenda was “discuss training opportunities for employees.”

Burns said, “Performance management is the continuous process of identifying, measuring, and developing the performance of individuals and teams and aligning performance with the strategic goals of the organization. From no process (which is ours) to a formal process, this series is suitable for organizations at all stages of their performance management process. Hope all of y’all got this from the mailing list on MTAS. If not, I’ll forward it to you.”

MTAS website offers a 3- part series called Developing an Effective Performance Management Process. What Burns read came from their description of the series. It also says that John Grubbs is their HR Consultant who instructs the series on performance management process from the beginning of an evaluation period to the next cycle.” However, part one, Intro to Performance Management, was held on March 20, 2024.

City Manager Bam Haislip had information prepared: “We’re more interested in job specific training and we do have a process. There’s constant training going on. The police have four officers doing their field training right now. Firefighters have 40 hours of extrication training coming up I thinks it’s three days…in the month of April they did 785 hours of training. Public Works does monthly training through TOSHA.” He went on to list other city employees that have undergone training. Hailsip added, “Getting everybody together to do something from MTAS is not going to particularly enhance their skillset. Especially when you’re shorthanded and doing everything you can to keep up as it is. So, that’s what I mean when I say job specific training.”

Burns asked, “Does anybody here want to do performance management training? If they don’t, we’ll move on.” The discussion kept going for some time. Hailsip defended City employees, supervisors, and department heads again. “I’d say performance is up to par. You’ve got directors and supervisors that monitor their employees. Nobody gets to sit around. Everybody employed with the City is doing their job. The majority of them are performing above and beyond because we’re short staffed everywhere.”

Burns asked Haislip, “Do you judge the department heads on paper or anything, like their performance?” “No I don’t judge them. I talk to them. Communication is the key, especially when dealing with department heads and supervisors. I’m not looking to judge nobody,” Hailsip said.

Burns called on each Councilmember by name for an answer on whether or not they wanted performance management. Bradford said, “I’m going to need to look through exactly what it is first.” Michael answered, “No. I’ve said it 100 times and I’ll say it again. We are a service industry. That’s very, very difficult to have a business-like approach on. I’ve tried and I’ve thought about it. I’m used to giving them. I’m used to having them. But unless you have measurable attainable goals…like in the service industry, it is hard.” Perka said, “I was just thinking about the service industry. What are we supposed to do? Like a customer service rep at Amazon, where they get a survey at the end? Would you answer questions? It’s really hard to evaluate all the different thoughts that we have. I think there’s a way to kind of gauge it, but I think Bam is right.”

Ultimately, no action was taken.

They moved to Director’s Reports.

Chief of Police Scott Braden reported 148 calls for service in April. As a result, 34 new open investigations.

Fire Chief Drew Hawkins reported 163 calls for service. They have been out doing pre incident planning on every commercial building in the city. Jason Davis and Tim Anderson completed Advanced EMT Certification. Steven Dalton completed Inspector Certification. OSHA is revamping the Fire Brigade Standards. Hawkins said, “In the past, we’ve been able to train our guys to be equivalent to those standards. But they’re pretty much going to dictate what we have to do. There’s a lot of volunteer departments that are lobbying against it because it’s going to be very taxing on them as well.”

The meeting adjourned at 7:32 p.m.