Dabbs presents realignment plan at Council meeting

By Jamie Miller

The Boswell Municipal building was full of applause Thursday night at the regular Bryant[more] City Council meeting that started at 7. The night began, however, at 5:30 with the rescheduled Personnel and Finance meeting. The majority of all the agenda items were approved to be sent to the full council to be voted on later in the night.

Finance Director, Gary Hollis, gave a detailed breakdown of the finances of the city from the first of the year and Mayor Jill Dabbs introduced her plan for the Functional Realignment of the Public Works Department and Planning and Community Development Department. She gave a presentation of job descriptions saying that the plan helped with the “potential and needs” of Bryant.

The plan included fewer people getting the necessary jobs done better and, in the meanwhile, saving the city of Bryant and its taxpayers’ money. The council approved to send the information to a workshop that will be held sometime next week.

Current severance packages for the city were discussed as well with Alderman Chris Tipton suggesting that a change be considered. The existing plan includes giving the terminated person two weeks worth of their wages at the time of dismissal. Tipton suggested increasing the pay to a month’s worth of wages and having the terminated person sign an agreement of some sort leaving the city non-liable for any other damages.

At the completion of the Personnel and Finance meeting, the regular council meeting was called to order with Mayor Dabbs suggesting that the City of Bryant adopt the Youth Council program that will allow teenagers to participate in local government and it will also give the city access to volunteers. The program would be introduced in the 2011-12 school year and is budget neutral and therefore was approved to begin.

Four Bryant citizens approached the council raising concerns, from people burning piles of leaves too often and too close to the roads to concern about the rising water costs in Bryant. The final comments came from an elderly man, a Bryant citizen for over 40 years, who walked away from the podium with applause after he challenged the board to get behind their mayor and stop giving her so much “flack” for doing her job.

Shortly thereafter, a few council members attempted to overturn the Mayor’s veto of an action that was approved by the council at the February’s meeting. The council voted to give former city employee, Shane King, a $9,000 severance package after being terminated. A few days following the February meeting, Dabbs overturned the ruling, saying that it would set a precedent in situations that followed and it was not in the best interest of the city to give King the $9,000 severance package. It takes two-thirds vote to overturn a Mayor’s veto and the motion failed.

The Paxston Agreement was approved, allowing the City Water and Wastewater plant to dispose of sewage from another city for the cost of five cents per gallon. The agreement is expected to bring in annual revenue for the city of over $300,000.

Derek Phillips of the Parks Department informed the council of the recent agreement between the Parks Department and the Bryant Barracudas swim team in relation to using the Bishop Park Aquatic Center for meets and practices. The team will pay a one-time fee of $500 and all concession moneys made will go into the Park’s fund. The council approved.

The meeting concluded with the council approving the School Resource Officer contract for the coming school year. The hiring process will start in April and training will begin in June.

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