Suiter’s tenure ends June 30 after 24 years

Suiter’s tenure ends June 30 after 24 years
Dead silence is an unusual atmosphere for a city board meeting. Members of a packed-house audience were witness to his occurrence, however, at the formal meeting of the City of Martin Board of Mayor and Aldermen this past Monday afternoon when the board addressed the subject of Parks and Recreation director Dennis Suiter’s request to extend his retirement date to Aug. 31 to complete the duties of the Cal Ripken World Series. Upon Mayor Randy Brundige’s call for a motion to accept Suiter’s request, board members remained silent and the request died for lack of a motion. “I talked to the parks and recreation staff on Friday and each one said they could work together with Dennis during this time period. They would pledge full support to him,” Brundige supplemented. “What do you mean by ‘work together’?” audience member Linda Ramsey asked. “Cooperate with him,” Brundige answered. Brundige further explained Suiter’s proposed work schedule before bringing up the request again for a possible motion. “Twenty hours per week would allow Dennis to finish the World Series under state rules,” he explained. “It would be 20 hours a week for 60 days starting July 1 through the end of the tournament around August 29 or 30.” For the second time, the request died for lack of a motion and Suiter addressed the board. He reiterated the importance of the public’s knowing that his retirement request date had nothing to do with the recent audit and everything to do with healthcare benefits. As his request was denied for the extension and his retirement date was finalized on June 30, Suiter chose to stay positive in summarizing his feelings on his 24-year tenure as parks and recreation director. He cited his three greatest highlights in being director as seeing Santa’s Village reach success, bringing in the Martin Recreation Complex and Martin’s being awarded the Cal Ripken World Series. “I wish the next person the very best,” Suiter said. He admitted to having approximately “25,000 pieces of paper to this point in good condition” ready to hand over to the next director. In reflecting on his time as director, he recalled two recent incidents at ballgames in which people took the time to thank him and his department for going above and beyond the normal call of duty and taking special consideration to make sure things were run well. “It’s the little things like this that mean the world to me,” he admitted. “Thanks for the support and confidence. My family has been and continues to be my strength. I love them beyond words. I can and will leave this position with pride in my 24-year tenure. I was never alone, though, and I want to give credit where credit is due. I will not allow anything or anyone to dampen my spirits.” Suiter ended by saying he was leaving with the hope of securing “pride above ego, appreciation above jealousy and foresight above personal agenda.” In other new business, the board accepted two requests for city employees to donate sick leave hours. The first request came from the fire department for firemen to be allowed to donate 1,147 sick leave hours to Jody Hazlewood who needs a total hip replacement and has expended all of his accumulated sick and vacation leave. Hours donated include: Chief Russell Schwahn 200 hours, Jamie Summers 300 hours, Dickie Hart 250 hours, David Blake 100 hours, Freddie Winstead 100 hours, Kory Green 75 hours, Jason Hauhe 72 hours and Robert Gertsch 50 hours. The board also approved a request from Police Chief David Moore for sick leave hours to be donated for school resource officer Christy Lifsey who has just had a child. Resolution R2008-11, a resolution adopting a tentative budget for the 2008-08 Fiscal year, passed. The appropriations of the 2007-08 Fiscal Year budget will become the appropriations for the tentative 2008-09 Fiscal Year budget. No more than one-twelfth of any line item may be expended per calendar month by each department without approval of the mayor and aldermen until the final 2008-09 Fiscal Year budget is adopted. In old business, the following ordinances were passed: • Ordinance O2008-02 to amend the municipal zoning ordinance and map by rezoning a tract of land located at 235 University St. from R-2 (Medium Density Residential) to R-4 (Residential-Professional) on its first reading and public hearing. • Ordinance O2008-04 amending Section 2-209 of the beer ordinance of the city to create a class of beer permits which can be granted to caterers on its second and final reading and public hearing. Ordinance O2008-03, an ordinance to amend the municipal zoning ordinance and map by rezoning a tract of land located at Dustin Laird Drive from B-2 (Intermediate Business) to R-3 (High Density Residential) was tabled until further notice. The board voted to go with the low contract paving bid of $71.75 per ton and an alternate bid of $78 per ton from Ford Construction Company in Dyersburg. Wrapping up old business, the board voted to accept a street resurfacing program per recommendation from the public works committee. Streets to receive restructuring include Raven Street, Harrison Road, Kennedy Drive, Hayes Street, Smith Street, Old Fulton Road, the intersection of Fulton Street and Walters, South McComb Street, the fire department parking lot, Ryan Street, Hyndsver Road, North College Street and Hampton Street. At 3,268.1 tons and $71.75 per ton, the cost will be $234, 468.18. In committee reports, Director of Public Works director Billy Wagster reported that at a recent Tennessee Utility District meeting, Marty Ables was awarded Water Plant Supervisor of the Year. Additionally, for the second year in a row, the water department had a score of 100. The next informal meeting of the Martin City Board of Mayor and Aldermen will take place at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1 and the next formal meeting will take place at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, July 7 at the Martin City Hall.

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