Transport hub, rec. park plans pursued

Published 5:00 am Friday, April 6, 2007

The Brookhaven Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to move forwardon two property issues, one involving ongoing efforts for themulti-modal transportation facility and the other as a potentialsite for a new recreational offering.

Following an executive session for real estate negotiations, theboard approved a .15-acre property trade with Larry Boyd and the$35,125 purchase of 1.32 acres from him for land needed for publicaccess to the transportation facility.

The total 1.47 acres is near the transportation hub’s proposedsite on North Railroad Avenue. City officials hope to seek bids onthe transportation facility by the early summer.

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In another property matter, the board voted to offer theappraised price of $21,100 to Bethel AME Church for 1.48 acres thatcould be used for a park similar to the Bicentennial Park. Thechurch has 30 days to accept or decline the offer.

“We hope to make this one of our water parks,” said Massengill,referring to plans to make spray areas where children can play inwater mists.

Also, in conjunction with the water park idea, the board wasinformed by the mayor of a joint plan between the Brookhaven FireDepartment and the Recreation Department to have “Spray and Play”days during the summer between June 4 and August 2.

On these days, different streets in the city will be chosen andthe roads will be blocked off so the fire department can spray areachildren with water and allow them to play.

Also Tuesday, the board approved, effective April 15, the finalunexcused absence policy they had been working on for the last fewmeetings. The policy dictates that upon a first offense unexcusedabsence, an employee will be given a written warning by his or hersupervisor, and he or she must sign it.

Upon the second and third offenses, the employee will besuspended by the board. Upon his fourth offense in a running12-month period, he shall be terminated.

City employees will be provided a copy of the policy along withtheir paychecks, and new employees will be advised of the policywhen they are hired.

Employees will also have the right of appeal to the mayor andboard. If the suspension is overturned, the employee will becompensated for lost wages.

The policy defines an unexcused absence as any time the employeefails to show up for work at his or her normal time and when he orshe does not call a supervisor to inform them that they are eithertoo ill to work or have had an emergency arise.

Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates brought up the issue of hiringpolicies, saying he refused to hire another city employee until theopening being filled had been posted for all city employees to beaware of.

“I don’t know that I’ll approve another hiring unless I knowthese are being posted somewhere where city employees are going tosee it,” said Bates, referring to the city’s preference of hiringcurrent city employees to new job openings.

The aldermen decided job openings, citing specifically in thepolice and fire departments, should be posted two weeks beforebeing filled.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean we will hire someone to one ofthose positions just because they are already a city employee, butit does mean they will be informed of the openings first,”Massengill said.

Cliff Brumfield appeared on behalf of the chamber of commerce todiscuss his Monday meeting with Congressman Chip Pickering’s staffmembers.

“The good news is that we’re on the radar screen,” saidBrumfield. “We’re definitely getting political interest fromJackson and in Washington, and that is largely due to the effortsof the city.”

Brumfield also informed the board of the new signage downtownthat was put in as a part of the lighting and signage grant awardedto the city. The spots for the new lighting downtown have beenmarked off, but actual work on putting the new lights has not yetbegun.