Mayor seeks input on city betterment

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Mayor Les Bumgarner began establishing his city leadershipTuesday night at his first board meeting in office, reappointingseveral current city officials and opting to wait for the July 21meeting to name department heads.

Bumgarner said he has sent letters to all the current departmentheads asking them to list four changes that would improve theirdepartments without additional personnel or equipment.

“I felt like it might be a little hurried if we just jump rightin,” Bumgarner said. “I’ve been trying to make personal contactwith each one … The city is moving in a good direction, but wecan all be better.”

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So far there has not been an official replacement announced forStreet Department Superintendent Jimmy Griffin or Fire Chief BobWatts, both of whom retired effective June 30.

Ward One Alderman Dorsey Cameron was also approved unanimouslyon Ward Four Alderman Shirley Estes’ nomination for mayor pro tem.Cameron said he is grateful for the recognition.

“Thanks to the board for giving me this opportunity,” he said.”I hope I can serve and do well.”

In routine matters, City Attorney Joe Fernald and auditor PatLowery were both reappointed by the board to one-year terms, whileCity Judge Raymond Boutwell, Prosecutor Brad Boerner, and electionscommissioners James Tillman, George Brumfield and Bonita Bullockwere all reappointed to four-year terms.

Meanwhile, Fernald said the order to continue on the BrookhavenMulti-Modal Facility should be signed by Circuit Judge Mike TaylorWednesday morning, meaning that the facility has overcome the finalhurdle in its effort toward starting construction.

A dispute over the city’s awarding of a construction contractresulted in a lawsuit, but it was later withdrawn. The project willnow proceed as planned, officials said.

In other construction news, aldermen discussed progress on theHalbert Heights ditch, with Bumgarner telling the board that thefunds may be available to finish another stretch of the ditch thatruns behind Stan King GM Super Store.

In addition, Bumgarner said there will be an inspection when theditch has been there 11 months, during which time any problems thathave occurred with time and wear will be remedied.

“The design is beautiful, but if it erodes, it’s not,” saidEstes. “We need to do a tree planting or sodding so we don’t justend up with big weedy banks.”

The board also approved new Alderman at large Karen Sullivan’sreplacing Bumgarner on the board’s cemetery subcommittee.

The board also held an executive session for possible litigationand personnel matters. When they came back into open session, theyappointed Bumgarner to take the place of former Mayor BobMassengill in the Linbrook Business Park Alliance.