May 6, 2019

4:30 PM


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

Tambra Varnadore, Commissioner, Ward 2—(entered the meeting at 4:31 p.m.)

Brian Williams, Commissioner Ward 3


Staff Present:

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.



Mayor Bryant recognized the following City employees for their recent nomination as Employee of the Second Quarter:


Angela Bechtel                                                                       Donna Gross

Kristin Hutton                                                                         Amber LaRowe

Keith Mitchell                                                                         Frankie Romo

Olga Wilson


Donna Gross was selected as the Employee of the Second Quarter.




Mr. Freeman gave a presentation on the FY2017/2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). He discussed the  major initiatives for FY 2018 that included the EQ basin design, lift station improvements, completion of 14th Avenue and 17th Street project and the purchase of the property for the future Palmetto Police Department. A few of the major initiatives for the future include redevelopment of the 10th Avenue corridor, construction of the EQ basin, dredging projects and CSX railroad improvements. Mr. Freeman stated that the total revenues increased by about 8.16 percent in comparison to the prior year and expenses increased approximately 6.9 percent in comparison to last year. Mr. Freeman also touched on the proprietary activities, fiduciary funds, and pension contributions.


Jeff Gerhardt, CS&L CPAs, gave a report to the Commission regarding the recent audit on FY 2018. The City received an unmodified opinion on the Management Letter for the CAFR which is the highest opinion that can be received; it indicates financials are fair, accurate and appropriately represented.



3. Continued Discussion: Personnel Policy

·         Medical Marijuana


Commissioner Cornwell discussed the use of marijuana or any drug that is not given to that person via prescription. She would prefer there is a progressive discipline policy incorporated instead of same treatment regardless. She opined that rules need to be stricter with little ability for discretion.


Commissioner Smith opined that employees should have second chances though, and does not want to see a good employee fired for their first offense. Commissioner Cornwell agreed; however, if an employee is told that they have to go to counseling (mandatory) and they refuse, then they should be terminated.


Commissioner Varnadore would prefer to see a separate section in the Policy dedicated to medical marijuana use and if impairs the ability to perform job duties.


·         Merit Pay Program


Mr. Freeman discussed the handout as attached to the Agenda as it outlines the Committees’ thoughts on implementing a Merit Pay Program.


Commissioner Cornwell questioned how an employee could dispute their supervisor’s review of their performance and subsequent merit pay increase. Mr. Freeman explained that an employee can go to the Department Head, the Mayor, and/or Human Resources. The Commission opined a more concrete mitigation policy should be written, i.e. committee, so that something can be done to help those employees whose supervisor is a Department Head or the Mayor.


Commissioner Williams opined that the merit increase not be tied into their salary; meaning, if one year they get a 2 percent increase based on their annual performance review, they get that in a one lump “bonus” check; however, their base salary is not increased. Mr. Freeman stated that is something that can be considered and brought forth to the Committee for discussion.


Commissioner Smith expressed several opinions regarding his lack of support for this program to be implemented in the City.


·         Summary of Discussions


Due to the time, the conversation ended and will be brought forward to a future Workshop once the Committee meets to discuss the concerns that have been brought forth by the Commission.



Mayor Bryant adjourned the meeting at 6:00 p.m.


Minutes approved: May 20, 2019


James R. Freeman


James R. Freeman, City Clerk




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