Today is Thursday, November 27, 2014

Councils confusion turns into eight saved jobs

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By BEN DUDLEYThe Wilson Post

Lebanon City Council voted to save eight of the 27 positions that were in line to be abolished Monday night during a lengthy discussion at a reconvening of last week’s meeting.

Russell Lee, commissioner of revenue, began the meeting by explaining to the council that he had taken all of the requests by the department heads that were expressed at the previous meeting and added them into his budget proposal for consideration, which he emailed to the council members on Friday.

After that, however, the meeting was hindered slightly by the council’s confusion on how they were supposed to vote and on what exactly they were voting. For about 30 minutes, they tried to understand one another until Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath finally suggested voting on each request as to whether to amend it or accept it as is.

Council voted to accept the Lebanon Police Department’s payment to the city of $300,000 during the next three years to pay off what it owed the city. The first payment will be given to the Senior Citizens Center to pay back the $100,000 that was cut from their budget to aid the General Fund.

This action got a hardy “Thank you, Jesus,” from Jo Grafton, affectionately known by many in Lebanon as “Granny,” who was in attendance to see what was going to happen to the SCC.

“I was there (Monday) and two little ladies came up to me and asked ‘Ms. Jo, are we going to have to pay our $2 today?’ and I told them that hasn’t been voted on yet,” Grafton said. “They said they couldn’t afford the $2 fee and that meal (at the SCC) was the only meal they ate every day.”

The council then began moving through and discussing each department head’s request for positions to be saved.

• They voted on the Recreation Department and amended the original ordinance to save the Grounds worker and the Park attendant.• The request from the Jimmy Floyd Fitness Center was voted down and those positions remain on the cut list.• The Water Department was able to keep the Stormwater inspector and add a part-time surveyor to help with the workload.• The council voted to save a Building inspector from the list and Mayor Philip Craighead broke a tie to save the Plans examiner. The administrative secretary was cut.• The GIS tech was moved to the Gas Department.• The council voted to save two custodians for city buildings and not to accept the contracts from outside janitorial services.• The council did not vote to save the Human Resources director, City Liaison, or the receptionist.• 

The council also accepted an amendment proposed by City Attorney Andy Wright  to allow any employee whose position is set to be abolished and is eligible for retirement, to apply for retirement any time before the ordinance gets its third and final reading and still receive 90 days of work, pay and benefits before their position is abolished.

The next regular city council meeting will be at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Staff Writer Ben Dudley may be contacted at ben@wilsonpost.com.

 

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