The Clarksville city council met in its usual regular session on the first Thursday of the month. I have been on the council for almost four years and been going to council meetings regularly since 1996. Tonight’s session may have been a record for the quickest. I believe we were in and out in under 25 minutes. Councilman Harris was absent tonight.
I would also like to welcome many new readers to my council email system. As I have been out campaigning, I have been signing up many new readers to my email system. I am also pleased to talk with many residents that have been on my email system for some time. I greatly appreciate your support and kind words about receiving this information on what our city is up to.
Here were the topics of interest:
As many of you know, several months ago, I worked and received approval by the council to extend the Madison Street Overlay to the current city limits on Madison Street/Hwy41. Previously, the Overlay stopped at the intersection of MLK-Hwy76 and Madison. The residential protections and building requirements that are spelled out in the Overlay only apply to city property.
This area of our ward has county properties basically surrounded by the city limits. This means that while the Overlay keeps business signs to a 20-foot height limit they could be 50-foot in the county property located within the city limits. Lightning restrictions, setbacks and other details that were developed to protect residential and enhance the intermixing of residential and commercial within the Overlay area are not required on county land.
Thus, by requesting the annexation of these county properties within the city limits, uniformity and protection of residential and commercial properties can occur. This would also affect drainage and codes issues, which the city has put additional resources in both manpower and ordinances to clean up messy properties. Residents within my ward have had issues with drainage, but sometimes little can be done due to the varying requirements of city versus county.
The resolution I sponsored tonight to begin this process was approved by 10-yes, 0-no vote. One council member was late and missed this vote. The first vote to actually annex will likely be November.
An ordinance to increase some personnel funding and maintenance issues to the airport was on the agenda tonight. The amount was $10,340. The main issue (from my viewpoint) was the additional six-month funding of the Intern Airport Manager. I actually pushed a measure to cut the funding from 12-months to 6-months during the budget in July. At that time the city demanded that a new Airport Manager be hired and basically fired the accountant after an audit showed she was spending funds on things other than the airport.
A new manager has been hired, a new accountant is on board and the intern was to help for six months to get everyone on board. The audit and airport board believe three employees are really needed. It was from this information that I have pressed to do away with the intern after six months. This would allow a cross training period, the proper development of the job description of the third position (of which one was not written before the hiring of the intern) and the proper funding and search for the right candidate. It is my understanding the intern is a good worker but has no plans to stay and is awaiting an aviation school training opening. So this intern could leave anytime.
We have had a mess at the airport and the council has done well to end the problems. However, I am disappointed the council would not support my amendment to cut the extended pay of the intern and force the proper hiring and development of the third position. My amendment to delete the money lost by a 3-yes and 8-no vote. I still have an issue that an intern was hired without city or county budget approval, hired with no job description, and with no interviews. This approach may be fine and acceptable in private business, but it is not in government supervised/funded operations.
With the amendment defeated the original ordinance was approved by a 10-yes and 1-no vote. I did vote yes on the final ordinance due to the nature of overall requirements.
Bridging Employee Service
As you know from a couple of days ago I sent my readers a request asking for their input on how should employees that left city service (for whatever reason) and then came back should be handled in connection with seniority, pay, and other benefits that a worker accrues over time. I want to thank those who provide me their thoughts. Only a few inputs took what might be called the extreme ends of the choices. On one end was the state model where if you come back, you pick up where you left off. No starting at zero. At the other end was if you left and came back, you start with nothing.
The vast majority spoke of supporting something in the middle. Allow the worker to come back (if an opening was available and was a good worker), allow the worker to recoup benefits, but put a time limit on this deal and there should be some penalty for time away or have the worker work a period of time to recoup and gain credit for prior work experience. There were many good ideas, but of course, no one saw it the same exact way.
Based on this input I ask the council to defer a vote until I could provide some additional ideas and details to Human Resources and the Finance Committee, of which I am a member. The council agreed to my request to defer by an 8-yes, 3-no vote. I will work up some options and let you see them in a few days. Thanks again for helping me with your inputs.