Elected Officials Present:
Shirley Groover Bryant, Mayor
Tamara Cornwell, Vice Mayor, Commissioner-at-Large 2
Jonathan Davis, Commissioner-at-Large 1
Harold Smith, Commissioner, Ward 1—(Entered the meeting at 4:32 p.m.)
Brian Williams, Commissioner Ward 3
Elected Officials Absent:
Tambra Varnadore, Commissioner, Ward 2
Mark Barnebey, City Attorney
Jeff Burton, CRA Director
Jim Freeman, City Clerk
Allen Tusing, Public Works Director
Scott Tyler, Chief of Police
Amber LaRowe, Assistant City Clerk
Mayor Bryant called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m.
1. WWTP EQ BASIN IMPROVEMENTS DISCUSSION
Mr. Tusing reminded the Commission that $4.3M was approved for the Equalization Basin and Equipment in the 2019-2023 Capital Improvement Plan adopted in September 2018. Staff placed this item out for bid and received five bids back with prices ranging from $6M to $7M to complete the construction for the project.
Commissioner Williams would like to know if the retention ponds for the Wastewater Treatment Plant were in the original bid because he is concerned that the City paid for something that was not received. Mr. Tusing will look into this and provide information back to the Commission.
Discussion ensued on the cost of the EQ Basin and feasibility.
Brett Taylor, Veolia, expressed his opinions on the EQ Basin. He is in favor of building this and relieving various issues the City has with their wastewater, especially during heavy rains.
Commissioner Davis is in favor of the project.
Mr. Freeman explained the process going forward. He stated that staff has had a conference call regarding the funding through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and their advice was to move forward with the current loan and request additional funding. Priority for additional funding goes to those projects that have been approved [this project has]. The DEP Board meets four times a year and will review the City’s request for additional funding in May or in August. If the City is not awarded additional funding, staff will review other possible sources to bridge the gap.
2. PERSONNEL POLICY PRESENTATION
Mr. Freeman explained that a committee made up of representatives from the four City Departments have been meeting over the last year to review the current Personnel Policy that was adopted in 2014. Mr. Freeman’s intent was not to have a high-level discussion tonight; he was providing the Policy for the Commission to have time to review and prepare questions for a later meeting. He informed Commission that there are some additional “programs/policies” that will be presented to the Commission separately before they are incorporated into the Policy. One program is on the Agenda tonight; the Sick Leave Donation Program. There are two more separate pieces to come forward later, the Merit Pay Increase Program and information regarding Medical Marijuana.
Both Commissioner Cornwell and Commissioner Smith expressed their opinions and hesitations with a Merit Based Pay program; Mr. Freeman informed everyone that the Program will be presented later, to allow the Commission ample time to review it and then ask specific questions based on the proposal.
Mr. Freeman went onto to discuss the Sick Leave Donation Program as attached in the Agenda. This is a peer-to-peer program, not a bank program and the following conditions have to be met:
To be a recipient:
· Full-time employee with at least 12 months of service with the City
· Illness must qualify under Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
· Must submit a sick leave request form to Human Resources (HR)
· Has to have exhausted all their own accrued personal leave (sick, vacation, comp) before receiving any donations
· Cannot receive more than a total of four weeks of donated leave per rolling 12-months
· Donated sick leave hours cannot be included to determine annual compensation for pension calculation purposes
· Donated sick leave hours will not be paid out to the employee upon separation from the City
To be a donor:
· Has to formally apply to participate in the Program by submitting a sick leave time donation form to HR
· Has accrued sick leave and/or vacation to donate in excess of 96 hours after donation has been made
· The minimum to donate is four hours
· Any unused hours given to a recipient by a donor expires and will not be returned to the donor
Mr. Freeman stated that all donations under this Program are gratuitous and donors will not receive, directly or indirectly, any compensation or consideration of any kind from the recipient in exchange for the donation.
Commissioner Davis opined that health insurance to Commissioners should be considered.
Mayor Bryant adjourned the meeting at 5:41 p.m.