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Linden mayor complains about lack of power

Linden Mayor Pat Vice complained again Monday about employees seeking direction from different city council members. He asked City Attorney Alex Braswell to review state codes on powers of the mayor.

Vice was obviously still unhappy about the council’s recent decision to change the city hiring procedure where the entire council – not just the mayor – hires employees. The mayor subsequently said the decision by the council was a vote of "no confidence."

Vice said the issue was whether the mayor is "the chief executive officer" and the day-to-day administration of city employees. "If everybody in the City of Linden has 16 different supervisors, how in the word can we set a direction and get anything done," the mayor asked.

Councilmen Howard Walters and Butch King both denied that employees were coming to council members.

The mayor had originally asked for an attorney general’s opinion on the matter but later withdrew that request.

Vice’s complaint prompted Councilman King to ask for a brief executive session, however, no further action was taken afterwards.

In other action from Monday’s meeting, council members saw a demonstration of a litter vacuum machine in the parking lot across from City Hall. An estimate of the cost of the street machine was $28,000.

Public Works Director Terry Tyson had previously recommended that the city purchase a $65,000 street sweeper. Based on a request from Councilman King the council tabled a decision on the machine.

Council members complained about Arrow Disposal Service not picking up leaves and limbs adequately in the city. City Administrator Cheryl Hall had made numerous complaints to the company.

Vice said he would send a certified letter of complaint to Arrow.

The mayor said the city had saved $100,000 was saved through the contract with Arrow.

The council will ask for an estimate from bond company Merchant’s Capital to review the city’s current bond issue. The information would be helpful, said Councilman Allday, to help the council decide whether to adopt a bond issue for construction of a new city hall.

Mayor Vice has written architect Paul Butler and asked him to not proceed further with plans for a new city hall. The city owes Butler $4,300 for work already done, and they deny they owe him $3,700 for proposed floor plans to renovate the old Linden Manufacturing Building. "He was told after the (payment of $4,300) not to do anything else," Vice said.

Councilman Dennis Breckenridge reported that $22,018.75 had been spent in fiscal year 2003 for preparation of Scott Park for the little league season.

City Clerk Pam Duke discussed the procedure where ordinances and amended ordinances are publicized. She was responding to criticism from an area newspaper that specific city ordinances were illegal. According to the League of Municipalities, cities with a 1950 census under 2,000 need only to post the ordinance in three public places, she said. There was a population of 1,363 in Linden according to the 1950.

The council voted to deny a claim by Debra Blanks Boykin related to a fatal accident two years ago on Highway 43. The statute of limitations had expired, Hall said.

Councilman King praised the speedy response of Linden Police to his report of a prowler.