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City tables decision on department heads

After an extensive time in executive session yesterday, the Demopolis City Council decided to table any action on the city’s department heads until its next regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 20.

The council discussed determining the fates of city clerk Paula Bird, city judge Woody Dinning, city attorney Richard S. Manley, police chief Tim Williams and fire chief Ronnie Few at its organizational meeting on Monday, but decided to wait until the first regularly scheduled meeting to decide whether or not to maintain those people in their positions.

District 5 representative Jack Cooley motioned for the council to go into executive session for five minutes. The council emerged quite some time later (one meeting attendee placed it at 20 minutes), and mayor Mike Grayson announced that the council had made a decision.

It was suggested that a motion be made, and Grayson made a motion to temporarily maintain those people in their positions until a permanenet decision would be made.

District 2 representative Mitchell Congress said that he thought the decision would be made at the next meeting, and made the motion to table any action until the next meeting. The motion was approved unanimously.

Other actions taken at the Demopolis City Council meeting included:

The council approved an agreement between the Demopolis Fire Department and Tombigbee Emergency Medical Services.

The council issued a proclamation congratulating Demopolis High School on being named a No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School. The school officially received the award in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21.

The council approved the appointment of Paul Willingham to the parks and recreation board. Freddy Charleston was also named as a possible alternate on the board of adjustments, but the board decided to wait until its next meeting to bring two names to a vote for the two alternate positions.

The council voted to claim the former State Trooper property and the Coliseum property as surplus for the purpose of putting it up for sale. Dan England suggested the council take a look at how much land there is before putting it up for sale, as he believed it was more than the council may think it has.

The council approved an off-premises-only alcohol license to Smoke ’n Chew Tobacco on U.S. Highway 80 West. It also approved a special retail license to the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce relating to the barbecue cookoff area during Christmas on the River.

Brian Brooker gave an update as to the progress of the proposed municipal complex at the corner of Cedar Avenue and Washington Street, where the current police station is located. He indicated that the construction cost would total $1.53 million, and the total project cost would be $1.7 million.

The council approved Almon and Associates’ bid for professional services not to exceed $3,800.

Terry Kelley of Landfill Management of Alabama addressed the council, requesting it to consider putting the city’s collection up for bid. He provided information about his company, also known as Alabama Environmental Services, to the council.

The council assigned its members to several council committees. District 3 representative Melvin Yelverton asked why he was asked which committees he wanted to serve on if he would not be appointed to them. Grayson said he did the best he could to place council members on the committees they requested.

During the time allotted for people in the gallery to ask questions or make comments, Robert Shepherd advised the council to pay more attention to the Sunshine Law, that law that defines how executive sessions are to be handled. He noted that it was announced that the council would break for five minutes, and said they returned after 20.

Congress apologized, saying it was his fault they ran so long.

“I have a tendency to run on,” he said, “(The other council members) almost dragged me out of the room.”

The next scheduled Demopolis City Council meeting is on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 5:15 p.m. at Rooster Hall.