|Hornbeak alderman asked to resign to avoid possible conflict as city worker
|Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 9:08 pm
|By CHRIS MENEES
A Hornbeak alderman has been asked to resign in order to avoid a possible conflict with his also working for the town.
The Hornbeak board of aldermen voted 4-2 Tuesday night to ask alderman Paul Truett to resign from the seven-member board.
Truett does contract labor for the town and works to maintain its sewer system. He is retired from Goodyear and he runs the Hornbeak Water Utility District.
Hornbeak Mayor Den-nis Dozier explained Truett is now a certified sewer collection agent for Tennessee and, according to the state, a problem could exist with his illegally serving on the board because he works for the town. He said the Municipal Technical Advisory Service has recommended against his serving as an alderman, but he emphasized it is simply “advice.”
Dozier said Truett is very helpful with the town’s sewer system, but, according to the advice given, the only way he can continue to serve as an alderman is if the board passes an ordinance allowing city employees to serve in that capacity.
“He’s the most beneficial person and I can hardly stand to do this,” Dozier said.
A couple of board mem-bers questioned whether there could be some liability on the town. Alderman Robbie Riley said she believes Truett is an asset but she does not want to see the town get into trouble as a result of a conflict of interest which could be created by his serving on the board. She said she also believes Truett would not want to do anything illegal.
“I think a lot of him,” she said.
Dozier said Truett is aware of the possible con-flict and he opted not to attend Tuesday night’s meeting as the other alder-men considered any action.
Some aldermen ex-pressed a desire to receive more information about any potential liability before making a decision and alderman Debi Jerden said she did not want to see the board make “a rash decision.” Alderman Leon Walden said he did not want to vote against Truett but said even if an ordinance is passed to allow Truett to continue to serve, it would go against advice from the state and MTAS.
Walden ultimately made the difficult motion to ask Truett to resign from the board of aldermen and it was seconded by Mrs. Riley, who said it was a very hard decision for her to make. The motion was approved 4-2, with Walden, Mrs. Riley and aldermen Randy Phelps and Don Petty voting in favor of it. Ms. Jerden and alderman Lynn Finch cast the two dissenting votes.
In the wake of the action, a replacement would have to be chosen to fill Truett’s position on the board. He was re-elected in the Nov. 6, 2012, city election.
In a related development, a special called meeting of the board has been scheduled for next Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Hornbeak City Hall to discuss the sewer collection operator position, Dozier said this morning.
In other action during Tuesday night’s hour-long meeting, which was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer led by the Rev. Dale Batchelor, the Hornbeak board:
• Approved the nomination of Finch to serve as the town’s vice mayor.
• Was informed the town’s recent annexation project is completed and official.
• Learned the town’s police car was repaired over the weekend after it had mechanical problems.
• Was informed a resolution regarding the town’s ownership of a pumping station and sewer lines has been given to an attorney for review.
• Learned “no parking” signs have been placed in certain areas at the city park and new flags have been donated by Woodmen of the World.
• Was informed procurement letters have been sent and the town is working with the Obion County Chamber of Commerce in an effort to recruit new businesses.
• Learned the driveway has been graded at the city’s cemetery.
• Was urged by Dozier to visit the State of Tennessee’s official website to complete ethics training.
• Was invited to attend the opening of sewer bids Jan. 24 at 2 p.m., as well as a meeting pertaining to the town’s post office on Feb. 12.
Dozier said some residents recently received surveys regarding Hornbeak’s post office and he said there are plans for its operating hours to be scaled back to four hours per day. The meeting is to gauge interest.
• Was informed the town’s recently-closed hardware store was open Tuesday as part of its sell-out, and Dozier said every effort needs to be made to keep a store open there if anyone is interested in operating a business. Mrs. Riley said there has been talk of efforts to open a country music venue in town.
• Was asked to consider options for city limits signs and saw a sample of a neighborhood watch sign that issues a warning about dogs being allowed to run at large. Aldermen also discussed the ongoing problem of dogs running at large.
• Learned Barker Brothers has offered the town a dumpster for spring cleanup.
• Voted to pay a number of invoices for city operations, including a state operating permit bill for sewer collection; the town’s insurance coverage from TML Pool; a newspaper advertisment related to bidding the town’s sewer project; and several for fire department supplies and purchases to finish out a forestry grant the department recently received.
• Approved purchasing a vehicle radio with antenna for $250 from volunteer firefighter Brian Davis, who will install the unit in the town’s police car. The radio will enable Hornbeak Police Chief Ronnie Moore to communicate with the town’s fire department and first responders.
• Granted permission for the city park to be used for a gospel singing sometime in the spring.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at email@example.com. Published in The Messenger 1.9.13