By DONNA RYDER
Uphappy with the state of the town’s police department, Troy Mayor Jimmie Hart took action Monday night by rehiring the police department, including Police Chief James Cleek, on a temporary basis.
Hart told the newly-elected board he thinks the department has “hit a plateau,” where they just simply come to work to be there.
He rehired the department, minus one officer who was fired, until the next board meeting scheduled for Feb. 4 at 5 p.m.
He then appointed aldermen Deanna Chappell, Brad Walton and Ralph Wheatley to a committee and charged them with coming up with recommendations on how to improve the police department.
Hart said it is the “little things that bug him.” He claimed he has to run them out of the police station to get them on the road, that they take breaks whenever they want to and come on shift without having eaten, then sit at a local restaurant having their meal while on duty.
He said he wants to upgrade the police department to something “to be proud of” and not something that “just exists.”
Hart said he wants the committee to come up with recommendations by the next meeting.
Prior to the swearing in of the new board, which included the previously- seated board and newly-elected alderman Walton, Hart informed the seated board during old business he had suspended police officer Brett McClain for a code of ethics violation. He asked the board to uphold the suspension, thus releasing McClain of his duties as an officer in Troy.
Hart said the way McClain handled a domestic violence case was “not becoming of an officer” and he had received complaints about the officer from the public several times.
The board voted to confirm the mayor’s actions. McClain has seven days to file a grievance with the town’s internal affairs committee.
Troy began its meeting Monday night conducting old business with the seated board, which included Mrs. Chappell, Wheatley, Lew Solmon and Hoyt Sampson. Gene Gurien died recently while serving as an alderman.
• Heard from the town’s auditor that Troy is in good shape, with no long-term debt and increased assets from the prior year. The auditor said none of the proprietary funds (gas, water, sewer) lost money in the 2011-12 fiscal year, a fact that is important because the state could come in and set utility rates if those funds lose money.
The town was again written up for segregation of duties — a finding most municipalities the size of Troy have because of the lack of funds to hire additional people.
The auditor said it is not something the state overlooks, but it is a finding state officials are used to seeing and they won’t come down on the town just because of it.
At the questioning of the mayor, the auditor also reported his firm did not find anything that would suggest misappropriation of funds or fraud.
• Heard from Tim Smith, who reads water meters for the town, that something needs to be done with pit bulls. He said it is getting dangerous. He said at least one homeowner told him the dog would not harm him, but the dog is restrained with a “logging chain.” The dog can get to the meter, he said.
Solmon said the town has a leash law and Mrs. Chappell said the board has received complaints before about pit bulls and thinks it is time to consider the matter again.
The mayor said he has spoken with the town’s insurance company and it is a matter of what the town can do within the law. The mayor told Smith to get him a list and he would talk to the dogs’ owners.
Before Smith left, Mrs. Chappell asked him to supply the board with a list of needs he will have for the ballpark. Smith also heads the ball programs in the town.
• Agreed to allow for a Priscilla Muse Ray scholarship fund raiser to be held at City Park on April 20.
• Received a report compiled by Phillip Green on 2012 fire calls.
There were a total of 65 calls responded to by the department — 23 in town and 42 in the county. The department spent 30 hours and 21 minutes on the calls in town and 106 hours and nine minutes on the calls in the county.
The breakdown of when the truck left the station in service includes: in town — seven commercial fire alarms, three commercial fires, three smoke investigations, two motor vehicle accidents, one structure fire, one grass fire, one haz-mat call, one severe weather call, two fire safety education calls, one residential assist and one parade; the town’s fire calls in the county — three structure fires, one electric pole fire, one fire alarm and one good intent; mutual aid tanker calls — 24 residential structures, two commercial structures and one grass call; mutual aid manpower — two motor vehicle accidents; mutual aid to other towns — two commercial structures and one residential structure; and parades and escorts — three parades and one funeral escort.
• Heard from city recorder Cheryl Cranford that people are still buying rural fire subscriptions.
With all old business conducted, Hart declared all offices vacant and the board recessed for refreshments. State Rep. Bill Sanderson then swore in the mayor and the new board, which includes Solmon, Mrs. Chappell, Sampson, Wheatley and Walton.
With the new board seated, the mayor called for new business to be conducted.
• The board selected Sampson as the town’s vice mayor.
• Hart appointed Mark Watson as safety officer and fire chief, Lynn Jones as maintenance supervisor, Mrs. Cranford as city recorder and Suzanne Hopper as business clerk. The mayor also rehired City Hall’s part-time employees.
• The board agreed check signers will be the mayor and Mrs. Cranford. It was noted by Mrs. Chappell that Mrs. Cranford is now a certified city recorder, having passed all her state-required courses.
• The mayor appointed board members to committees, including Solmon, Sampson and Wheatley to internal affairs and Mrs. Chappell, Sampson and Walton to the beverage board. He noted the beverage board must file a report with the state on the number of licenses issued in 2012 and with the number of people younger than 18 who were caught purchasing and how much those people were fined.
He also appointed aldermen as department heads, including Mrs. Chappell to the water department, Solmon to the sewer department, Sampson to the gas department, Wheatley to the street department and Walton to the solid waste department.
• The mayor appointed Sam Nailling as the city judge, with a monthly salary of $250.
• The board agreed to opt out of the statewide building code.
• The board decided to renew five CDs. The best interest rate the mayor could get was .75 percent.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.8.13