An executive session of the Alba City Council for discussion of employees’ performance review and possible disciplinary actions relating to the chief of police and city secretary didn’t come off as scheduled at the group’s monthly meeting last Monday night at Alba City Hall.
The reason it didn’t come off as scheduled was that City Secretary Lindy McCarty and Police Chief Tim Koonce didn’t want themselves discussed behind closed doors.
When Mayor Theodore Levitt announced that the council would move into executive session for the discussion of these two city employees, McCarty requested that all conversation about her performance and possible disciplinary action be discussed in open session and Koonce followed her request with an identical request of his own.
City attorney Jim McLeroy was in attendance at the meeting and when Mayor Levitt asked if that could be done McLeroy replied, “If an employee requests that discussion about himself or herself be held in open session that is what must be done.”
So, in open session Levitt, who put the items on the agenda to begin with, said to McCarty, “Planning and zoning has been in effect for 10 years and it hasn’t been followed. We are not following proper procedures on variances.” To which the city attorney answered that there was a lot of confusion on that matter and it should be straightened when the city adopts a new fee schedule for planning and zoning.
Next the mayor asked about a donation made by the city when it is barred from making such donations. McCarty informed him that the city had not made the donation in question, the Economic Development Corporation sponsors the Alba Country Fair and the proceeds of that event are divided up between the Alba Fire Department, the Alba Ladies Club and the Alba Friends of the Library.
Next Levitt asked McCarty about two checks made out to the IRS in the amount of $287.45 each that he had signed this past month. He wanted to know why the council had not been informed of them. McCarty responded that those two checks were paid because of a miscalculation in an earlier payment and they had been issued two or three months earlier. Additionally, she stated that the payments, and explanation of same, had been listed in the monthly list of payments presented to the council for payment each month.
With no more questions for McCarty, Levitt asked Chief Koonce when the council was going to start getting the list of who made what calls for the police department. Koonce responded by saying, “I don’t recall we ever agreed to do that. We submit a detailed activity report to the council every month, you see what we do, why does it matter just who does what?”
Levitt then asked Koonce why he parked his car in the yard at C&M Building Supply sometimes and behind C&M Building Supply at other times. Chief Koonce responded by saying, “I just don’t think everybody needs to know exactly what I am doing 24-7.”
Apparently out of questions and with no disciplinary action deemed necessary at the moment, Mayor Levitt then adjourned the meeting.
In the business in the earlier portion of the meeting Harrison, Walker, and Harper Contractors was awarded the third and final payment for the construction of the new Blue Frog wastewater treatment facility installed for the City of Alba. That payment of $35,239 finished all the original construction of the project. However, since the project came in under budget an more project at the wastewater treatment plant was added and has not yet been started. Still, when it is completed the total project will not exceed the original projected cost.
The council accepted the resignation of Carolyn Gary from the library board and appointed Merideth Sanders to fill the vacancy that resignation created.
Action on a new Zoning and Variance Process and Fee Schedule was tabled until the March council meeting.
Theresa Margos was appointed as Election Judge for the May 6 election, and Melba Kelly and Dianne Haisten were appointed as election clerks for that same election.
The council was informed that the Lake Fork Baptist Church will use the City Park on April 30 for a Community Lunch.
In the public forum portion of the meeting, during which members of the public can address the council but the council makes no comment on what is presented, two citizens spoke.
Brian Snell spoke about a traffic citation which dated back to last October. He said a speedy trial had been requested and one court date had been set, but when they arrived for court, the judge was not present and nothing transpired.
Walter and Judy Smith were present regarding their property at 309 Farrington Street in Alba. Walter Smith addressed the council saying they had received a notice from the city informing them that Alba intended to demolish the structure as a dilapidated building. He said that the home had been purchased some years ago, to be used as a retirement home and that it was not a dilapidated building. He went on to say that he and his wife had recently spent several nights there and he had just spent over $1,000 updating the electrical service. “The roof doesn’t leak and the house is furnished. We plan to live there as soon as we can,” Smith said.