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Mayor Arnold blindsides Council

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   I believe that he [Mayor Arnold] is doing this with the best intentions, but... it sets a terrible tone for an incoming Town Manager to have a council member take out a loan on two vehicles without anyone knowing about it. I would recommend that you [the council] not do anything at this point.” -Acting Town Manager, Jim Parrish

Greenville's monthly meeting was held at Town Hall on Monday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. The meeting was kicked off when acting Town Manager, Jim Parrish, addressed the council on advertising for the position of Town Manager. A workshop was held previously, on Monday, Jan. 26, to discuss the qualifications and duties of a new Town Manager. Since the council came up with an adequate job description at the workshop, Parrish suggested they proceed with advertising. The council agreed unanimously to place the job description in the local and surrounding newspapers. The next agenda item addressed Healthy Start's request to temporarily close the road behind their building in order to hold a Human Services Fair on Wednesday, Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The fair will include services and information from different public service agencies-- people can receive food stamp assistance, free blood pressure screenings, mental health information, foster parenting information, resources for the visually impaired and more. The council unanimously approved the road closure. The third and final agenda item caused much confusion. The council was presented with a proposition from Mayor Arnold, who was absent from the meeting, to sign off on a loan for the purchase of two vehicles. “The mayor called and told me he needed approval from the council to proceed forward with the loan that he was working on at Madison County Community Bank,” said Town Clerk Kim Reams. “He said he needed two signers on the loan; him being one of them, and possibly the clerk or a council member being the other signer.” The loan amount was estimated at $35,000 to $38,000 and it would require an annual payment of $5,000 to begin in the month of October. The council quickly expressed their concerns and unanimously wanted to know what the vehicles were for. Reams knew nothing more than what the mayor had informed her through the telephone. Town Attorney, Christene Thurman, spoke up: “Let me clarify that this is outside the realm of the council's authority to act.” The room began to buzz with questions and comments until acting Town Manager, Jim Parrish, took the floor. “I believe that he [Mayor Arnold] is doing this with the best intentions, but I know nothing about it. Apparently there is a loan being requested and being processed, all it needs is council approval, for two vehicles,” said Parrish. “Mr. Fead [Public Works Supervisor] has not indicated he needs a vehicle; I do not know what's going on and it sets a terrible tone for an incoming Town Manager to have a council member take out a loan on two vehicles without anyone knowing about it. I wish the mayor were here because he is entirely outside the bounds of what a council member can do. I would recommend that you not do anything at this point.” The council tabled the agenda item.

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