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Greenville Town Manager position and City Hall hours discussed

Selina Iglesias: Greene Publishing, Inc.

The Greenville Town Council met for their monthly meeting on Monday, Aug. 8.

With no citizen participation, the council moved on to the first item on the agenda, which involved modification to the CDBG grant agreement. Grants Consultant Jim Parrish asked the council for permission to update the work plans for the wastewater treatment plant and the extension of current contracts associated with the plant project. The grant agreement is extended for 11 months. The council unanimously approved the extension and update of the plans.

Next, the council reviewed a request from the Madison County Sheriff's Office (MCSO). MCSO asked the council if they could write a letter of support in order to get a $55,629 grant to use towards communications. This grant would be used county-wide and is 911-related. The council had much to say about this, bringing up concerns about the lack of police presence at council meetings. After much discussion, the council approved the request, 4-1.

The council moved forward to the approval of the budget amendment for the fire department's general fund after tabling item #3 on the agenda, Resolution 2016-7, for the next meeting.

Town Clerk Kim Reams went over the budget for the fire department, but Councilmember Kovacherich Arnold felt that the numbers on the budget didn't add up. This was tabled for a later meeting.

The council then discussed a part-time Town Manager contract. Previously, an individual applied for the position, but wanted to make negotiations with the council on his working conditions. The individual is a disabled veteran who gets benefits, but before taking the job, he wanted to check with the Department of Veterans Affairs as to whether or not he'd lose his benefits if he took this position. The individual asked for $450 a week, for 15 hours a week, with a $2,000 payment upfront to cover his moving expenses. The individual agreed that if he left before 90 days, he would reimburse the council, but he wouldn't be able to start until Nov. 1. The council was displeased with the individual's request to make changes to his contract and commented that when the individual applied, he claimed he could start immediately, but then claimed later that he was taking a vacation in September and wouldn't be able to start until November.

The council voted to decline the individual's request for $2,000 and amended to have his contract state that he will work 20 hours a week for $400 a week, but only if he can begin working on Aug. 22. If the individual declines, the council will proceed with the interview process for the next four applicants. In order to review which applicants they find most adequate for the Town Manager position, the council scheduled a special meeting for Monday, Aug. 15. The results from the meeting have yet to be announced by the council or the Town Clerk.

Since the budget needs to be fully prepared by September, the council began to discuss the possibility of Reams doing the job; since the Town Manager usually  handles budget preparations. Reams asked for compensation since the preparations are not part of her current job description as Town Clerk.

However, not everyone was pleased with this request. Councilmember Brandi Seabrooks argued that Reams is serving at the “pleasure of the council” and that she will do the job “if [the council] tells [her] to.”

“I think it's fair to compensate me what you'd pay a town manager to do it,” said Reams, who further mentioned that the first public hearing for the budget will be held on Monday, Sept. 12. By that time, budget preparations need to be completed.

The council asked Reams for an estimation on how long the budget preparations will take. Reams commented that preparing the budget is no easy task and that takes a lot of time away from her original job duties. She asked for a compensation of $400 every week, but the council rolled around several compensation ideas before ultimately agreeing with Reams' request.

After much discussion on how to compensate Reams, the council voted to pay her an additional $1,200 for four weeks in addition to her regular compensation. Reams will complete her budget preparations during her regular job hours.

Seabrooks offered her help to Reams, since Reams will be behind on some job duties. The compensation amount was approved with a vote of 3-2.

The council discussed an issue regarding the Senior Citizens building rental. Reams brought the council up to par on the issue, stating that a woman had rented the facility, but wanted her $100 security deposit back, as a cue ball was missing from the pool table. After much debate, the council agreed to refund the woman.

Last on the agenda was the discussion and possible action regarding hours of operation for Town Hall. Town  Hall is open from Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but closes at noon on Thursdays and opens for a full work day on Fridays. Seabrooks informed the council that Town Hall should be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. five days a week in order to bring full services to the community.

Reams stated that the hours have always been that way, and the Greenville community is well-aware of the hours. A motion was made to change the hours of operation for Town Hall, so that it stays open from 8 a.m. through 4:30 p.m., five days a week. This was approved 4-1.

In department reports, JC Fead of Public Works informed the council that there were signal blockers within the well. Chief Washington reported that the new doors at the fire department are installed and working well.

Morris Bell of the Recreation Board told the council that football sign-ups will be posted soon. Councilmember Joi Collins and Bell are meeting to discuss the contract regarding vendors at the recreation park. The council reviewed Bell's board member list and stated that he cannot put himself as a board member and that he must add one more member. Bell agreed to address the council's concerns.

With that, the meeting concluded. The next Town Council meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. at Greenville Town Hall.

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