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September City Council Meeting

Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 5:00 am

September City Council Meeting

Staff Writer

The Mayor and Council of the City of Lewisburg met Tuesday Sept. 12 for their regularly scheduled meeting. Gina Jones was announced as the new City Recorder/HR Representative. Several items were voted on and approved including a no-knock solicitation registry, paving funds, and grant money.

Lewisburg Fire Department is working on revamping and remodeling the fire safety house. It has been parked at Public Works for several years so some school aged children have never experienced it. It helped children learn what to do during a fire and how to escape. Local businesses and citizens have donated supplies to help the effort. LFD hopes to have it up and ready in time for fire safety month in October.

Captain Lonnie Cook of the Lewisburg Police Department gave several updates. The LPD responded to 1,280 calls for service last month. Three officers are scheduled to graduate from the police academy in the next few weeks, but even with the three incoming officers, they are still short five officers.

City Manager Bam Haislip gave his report. He discussed an item from the work session held the week prior – the salary of Public Works Director Branden Davidson. Haislip said, “It was asked that his salary be adjusted. I think we found the root cause of his issue.” Hailsip explained how the shortage of employees over the last three or four years has impacted the amount of work others must pick up to keep things going. Haislip’s solution is to change Davidson to an hourly rate so that anytime he gets called out to do work, he gets paid for doing it.

During new business, Councilmember Patty Parsons made a motion to direct the City Manager to increase Davidson’s salary by $11,000. Parsons said, “Everybody was in agreement on it, and I would like to have a vote on it.” Haislip replied, “I thought it was according to the charter and that it’s at the City Manager’s discretion. I just explained the way I was going to do it.”

Hailsip and Parsons both want Davidson to earn more, but they approached the situation differently.

City Attorney Thomas Hutto explained, “It’s certainly not something the City Council can direct the City Manager to do, as far as a specific salary for a specific person.” Hutton added, “Both the charter and TCA are pretty clear that all personnel matters, all administrative matters, all employment matters are strictly within the City Manager’s discretion.”

Hutton pointed out that the council itself has legislative authority and approves salaries for the year. It is up to departments heads to determine how the money is spent and to give raises where appropriate.

City Recorder Pam Davis informed everyone that the charter currently only allows the council to set salaries for: City Attorney, City Recorder, City Manager, and Treasurer. Hutton went into detail about specific duties of the council, how to address these issues, and whether or not the charter could even address it.

Councilmember Tommy Burns reiterated his statements from work session pointing out he was not in favor of the $17,000 additional money being given to the incoming Treasurer. Burns spoke to Haislip directly and said, “About that $17,000, you’ve already set precedence. I think the man deserves a raise. If you don’t want to give him one, then say you don’t want to give him one.”

Haislip said, “I’m not going to sit here every week in front of an audience and perform this in front of an audience. I started to wonder, is it about this individual and his salary or is it about something else? I think ever since I’ve been here, everybody’s been underpaid.” Haislip noted that many jobs require different levels of education, skill sets, and backgrounds.

Burns added, “Nobody here since I’ve been here has addressed the taxpayers. You know, we all work for the taxpayers. We may have to cut budgets next year instead of talking about raises, we just don’t know yet. So, everybody just keep that in mind please.”

The meeting adjourned at 6:54 p.m. Citizens are encouraged to attend work sessions on the first Tuesday of the month at 5 p.m. and City Council meetings on the second Tuesday at 6 p.m. All meetings are at Town Hall unless otherwise announced.