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City Council Recap, February 3rd

 

City of ClarksvilleClarksville, TN – The Clarksville City Council met in regular session tonight. They covered a variety of topics including the Pay Study, the Stipend Payment, Guns in City Parks, Council discontent on how the Hiring of Johnny Piper as CDE Superintendent was handled, a resolution to request that the power board and CDE Superintendent to step down, and Airport funding. The Clarksville City Council meets on the First Thursday of each month at 7:00pm. This is City Councilman Bill Summers recap of the session.

Pay Study

The pay study results are now official. Option 3 will be used. Longevity will be changed to $50.00 a year for each year of service. However, city workers will not lose any money due to the longevity change. An example, if a worker made $3000 in longevity under the old system and $1000 under the new system, then $2000 will be rolled to the workers base pay.

The worker may not see any raises for a couple of years as his/her base pay has likely been raised above the pay study result. In the long run the pay scale will catch up to what the worker is making and any approved pay raise will follow. The vote was 9-yes, 2-no and 1-abstain. I voted yes. Councilman Burkhart and Redd voted against the raises.

2% Stipend Payment

You will recall that the mayor proposed a 2% raise for anyone that got less than that. I fought against that and it was defeated last month. The mayor came back with a one time 2% stipend for those that did not get at least a 2% raise. So if you got a 1% raise, you got a 1% stipend. If your raise is 2% or higher, you will not receive a stipend. The vote was 9-yes, 2-no, and 1-abstain. I voted yes. Councilman Burkhart and Redd voted no.

Guns In Parks

The resolution to lift the gun ban on specific parks was approved by a 9-yes and 3-no vote. I voted yes. There was a suggested amendment proposed to allow guns only on the Greenways, which was a concern to many. As I previously told you I would support that. That failed by a 4-yes and 8 no vote. Since that failed, the original resolution was back on the table and passed.

Please remember where you can carry. Refer back to the list I provided you yesterday. Signs will be posted to help folks out in the parks. An additional point, it is against the law to carry a gun on a city bus. That is state law.

CDE Director Hiring

Resolution to show the City Council’s discontent on how the hiring of The CDE Director was accomplished.

This was approved by a 11-yes and 1-no vote. I voted yes. As I have previously told readers, I felt the “spirit” of the city ordinance where the mayor or council member cannot take a director position for year was violated.  We await the TN AG to see if that was a legal violation.

Resolution To Ask The Power Board and CDE Director to Resign

Basically the resolution by Councilman Burkhart states “That due to public outcry and perceived lack of public trust, the Clarksville City Council respectfully requests the resignation of the current superintendent of Clarksville Department of Electricity and the resignation of current members of the Power Board and that new members be appointed immediately.”  Discussions took place on that one.

State law does not include the “perceived lack of public trust” as a legal reason to dismiss a board member. State law says charges of wrong-doing have to filed before the council with specific board members listed. If the AG says the board did not break state law, then the board would appear to have nothing to resign over, other than people did not like their decision. Then the next legal step is to file charges if required.

This resolution is toothless and this was stated by the mayor and city attorney. The mayor had requested that the council wait until the AG had made its review and we would proceed from there. Councilman Burkhart has stated at previous council meetings that state law was violated. If Councilman Burkhart has proof of wrong-doing, then he should list the members who violated the law, the charges, and provide proof. I said as much in the council meeting.

The vote was a 6-6 tie. I voted no because there is no power behind the request and it is based on a perception. It is legally impotent. In addition a new board member was elected tonight and two others end their terms in 30 days. So the impact of this request isn’t as great as it would appear. The mayor, who has repeatedly been asking for a delay to get the AG opinion, did a 180 and decided to break the tie and voted yes also. Thus, the final vote was 7-yes and 6-no. The resolution will be signed and delivered to CDE.

Airport Funding

There had been a resolution to fund the airport by bonds instead of paying it off in lump sum. I had been 50-50 on this until the interest and method of bonding was mentioned. Instead of the Tennessee Municipal Bonds that we use for many things and have low interest rates but are variable, the bond agents wanted a fixed rate bond that would be around 5% interest.

Over 20 years the almost $2 million we would borrow to pay the airport bill would cost the city $1.3 million in interest. That was enough to convince me to pay the airport up front as that is why we had saved the money in the first place. The resolution to possibly borrow instead of paying upfront was defeated by a 5-yes and 7-no vote. I voted no.


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