Local News Articles

Smithville Police Charge Store Clerks with Selling Beer to Minors

August 30, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kira G. Clouse
Susana Jasmin Saldivar
Hardik Pravinbhai Patel

The Smithville Police Department made arrests at three businesses Friday after conducting an undercover investigation into the illegal sales of alcohol to minors.

Police Chief Randy Caplinger says 29 year old Kira G. Clouse, a store clerk at Jewel's Market on South Congress Boulevard (Highway 56) and 24 year old Hardik Pravinbhai Patel, a clerk at Village Market on North Congress Boulevard were each charged with sales of alcohol to a minor; while at El Mariachi (BP Station) on West Broad Street, 33 year old Susana Jasmin Saldivar was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allowing a sixteen year old female store clerk to sell beer. The underage clerk was also charged in a juvenile petition with selling alcohol to a minor.

Bond for Clouse, Patel, and Saldivar is $1,000 each and they will appear in General Sessions Court in September.

Chief Caplinger says he and Detective Matt Holmes conducted the undercover operation using a confidential underage informant."This took place on Friday, August 27th here in the city limits of Smithville. We've been receiving complaints from some of the citizens with concerns of underage sales of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products to minors. With a confidential underage informant, we entered eight locations that sell beer in Smithville. He (underage informant) presented his ID at these locations and he was able to purchase alcohol at three of these locations. At one of the locations (El Mariachi), the salesman (female clerk) was actually a minor and she was selling alcohol (in violation of the law) and she did sell to him (underage informant) which is also a violation of the law. The five other locations where the informant presented his ID, the clerks there did an outstanding job. They did exactly what state law requires and he (informant) was turned down and not allowed to purchase alcohol."

In addition to Jewel's Market, El Mariachi, and Village Market, the undercover informant was sent in to all other city establishments that sell beer including Food Lion, Kwik-N-Ezy, Mapco Express, Eastside Citgo, and Wal-mart

Chief Caplinger says police are also concerned about the sale of tobacco products to minors. He adds that while store clerks can't legally sell beer or tobacco to minors, adults who make these purchases for minors can also be charged with a crime. "In addition to the underage purchases of alcohol, we've also had a concern about the underage buying of tobacco products. Those concerns will be addressed and we will be checking those (businesses) periodically. Under state law if an individual (trying to make a purchase of tobacco) appears to be under 27 years of age, they are to be ID'ed. Even the purchase of an alcohol or tobacco product for a person under the age of 21 for alcohol and 18 for tobacco is against the law and those people (making the purchase for a minor) will be cited with a class a misdemeanor."

In the complaint against Clouse, Police say that on Friday, August 27th at 3:27 p.m. Detective Matt Holmes and Chief Randy Caplinger were present at Jewel's Market on Highway 56 with an 18 year old confidential source, who entered the business, purchased beer from the clerk (Clouse), and then exited the store at 3:30 p.m. with a six pack of Natural Ice beer. Clouse was positively identified as being the suspect who sold the beer to the minor. Clouse was later placed under arrest for sale of alcohol to a minor. Her bond is $1,000 and she will appear in General Sessions Court on September 9th.

In the complaint against Saldivar, police claims that on Friday, August 27th at 4:12 p.m. Detective Matt Holmes and Chief Randy Caplinger were present at El Mariachi (BP Station) at 517 West Broad Street with an 18 year old confidential source, who entered the business, purchased beer from the clerk, and then exited the store at 4:17 p.m. with a six pack of Busch beer. The female clerk who sold him the beer was later found to be a sixteen year old minor and she was placed under arrest for juvenile delinquency (selling alcohol to a minor). Saldivar, who was also in the store at the time, later told police that the sixteen year old clerk was helping her run the store. Chief Caplinger says it is illegal for a minor to sell alcohol to anyone. Saldivar is under a $1,000 bond and she will be in General Sessions Court on September 16th.

The complaint against Patel alleges that on Friday, August 27th at 4:32 p.m. Detective Matt Holmes and Chief Randy Caplinger were present at the Marathon gas station on North Congress Boulevard (Village Market) with an 18 year old confidential source, who entered the business, purchased beer from the clerk, (Patel), and then exited the store at 4:38 p.m. with a six pack of Busch beer. Patel was positively identified as being the suspect who sold the beer to the minor. Patel is under a $1,000 bond and he will appear in General Sessions Court on September 16th.

Smithville Golf Management, LLC To Terminate it's Lease with the City

August 28, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Farron Hendrix
Stephen White

The Smithville Municipal Golf Course and Swimming Pool may soon change hands again.

After only two years as a tenant, Farron Hendrix, doing business as Smithville Golf Management LLC has given notice to the mayor and aldermen of his intentions to terminate the lease agreement with the city, effective October 23rd.

In a letter to city officials, Hendrix writes that the golf course is no longer economically viable for his operation. "Smithville Golf Management, LLC entered into the lease with the intent to improve and maintain a beautiful city asset for the benefit of the citizens of Smithville, our school and community golf leagues, and to attract visitors and industry to our community. We also entered into the lease, not for personal gain, but with the hopes of maintaining the golf club as a non-profit entity. However, due to the downturn in the economy, extreme weather conditions, increased competition from surrounding courses, and increased expenses, we can no longer manage this city property at our own personal expense."

"We are very proud of the many improvements that we have made during our lease agreement; improved fairways, additional tee boxes, new trees, cleaner pond, refurbished sprinkler system, and updated facilities, just to name a few. However, our tax records prove that we have lost and continue to lose money each year in the management of the property. Therefore, it is with regret that we terminate our lease agreement with this sixty day notice."

Hendrix goes on to state in the letter that the Smithville Golf Management, LLC is willing to sell equipment and supplies to the city at a reduced assessed value for continued management of the golf club. He adds "Smithville Golf Management, LLC also agrees to assist the city in the management of the golf club until the new management can be secured."

In August, 2008 the Smithville aldermen, by a vote of 3-2 voted to accept Hendrix's bid to become the new tenant at the golf course and swimming pool, effective September 1st, 2008.

Hendrix bid $750 per month for the term of the lease, which was to be for a five year period from September 1st, 2008 until August 31st, 2013.

Smithville Alderman Stephen White, who is also the city's representative on the golf course board, told WJLE Saturday that it's unfortunate that yet another tenant at the golf course is giving up the operation for economic reasons. "We've had four tenants at the golf course over the last few years and it's sad that due to the economy, they've not been able to make money."

White says the city must come to a decision soon on what course of action to take concerning the golf course and pool, whether to try leasing it again, or for the city to assume the operation of it. "I'm inclined to think it would be best for the city to take it back over. Our residents deserve recreation that the golf course and swimming pool provide, it's vital to our community and industries, and we need to keep it going."

Smithville Police Report Theft of Tools and Vandalism at Habitat House

August 27, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police are asking for your help in solving a theft and vandalism at the Habitat for Humanity house under construction at 110 Hayes Street. The incident , which occurred sometime during the night of Wednesday, August 18th, was discovered the next morning.

Police are reporting that someone broke into a trailer at the work site and stole numerous tools. The intruder(s) also made entry to the house, causing damage to the back door. Some tools inside the house were also stolen. Taken were a 16 foot aluminum ladder, cordless drill w/charger, Bosch air compressor, 25 foot air hose, 50 foot extension cord, Delta Miter box and Makita circular saw.

Sharon Evans, Vice President of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County, says the back door and door frame of the home had to be replaced as well as the door locks. She says Habitat owned some of the tools that were stolen while others belonged to volunteers. In spite of the vandalism and theft, Evans says the construction is continuing uninterrupted and the home should be finished by the first week in September.

Meanwhile in a separate case, police are investigating a purse snatching incident at a local business on Saturday night, August 21st. According to police, a woman leaving work at EL Marichi Mexican Store stated that when she went to her car at approximately 8:55 p.m. an Hispanic male 5'6 to 5'7, thinly built, around 135 to 140 pounds with a red and white striped shirt and a blue bandana across his face demanded that she hand over her purse. Before she could respond, the man grabbed her purse and ran across the parking lot to a maroon SUV and jumped in the passenger side. The vehicle then headed east on Broad Street.

Anyone with information on these or other offenses is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential

Meanwhile, 29 year old Jennifer Ball of East Bryant Street was arrested by Officer James Cornelius for theft of services on Friday, August 20th. Discount Taxi Cab from Cookeville picked up Ball at Craw Daddy's Bar in Cookeville and brought her back home at 223 East Bryant Street. Upon advising Ms. Ball that the fare was $45.00 she stated she didn't have the money and refused to pay. Bond for Ball is $1500 and her court date is August 26th.

Heather Ann Yoskovich of Holiday Haven Road was recently arrested by Officer Scott Davis for shoplifting. An employee of Food Lion observed Yoskovich place several items of merchandise in her purse in an attempt to deprive the business of payment. Her court date is September 30th.

49 year old Roy D Atnip of King Ridge Road was recently arrested for driving on a revoked license. Officer Scott Davis saw a dark colored Chevy S-10 parked near the gas pumps at Delta Express and the tags on the vehicle bore the same letters and numbers as were given out on a BOLO or Be on the Lookout for a possible drunk driver. Officer Davis made contact with the driver, Atnip, who stated that his license were revoked for DUI. Atnip's vehicle was seized by the Smithville Police Department. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is September 30th.

54 year old Mark Eugene West of Prater Road was arrested recently by Officer Matt Farmer for driving on a suspended license. West was stopped for speeding in a school zone. A computer check revealed his license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation. Bond for West is $1,000 and his court date is September 15th.

33 year old Timothy Corley Allen of Alexandria was arrested on Tuesday, August 24th for public intoxication. Officer Scott Davis was dispatched to Hardees to investigate a call about a man who was passed out at one of the tables. Officer Davis awoke the man, Allen, and found that he had slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. Bond for Allen is $1,000 and his court date is September 30th.

54 year old Linda Gail Phillips of South Mountain Street was arrested on Wednesday, August 25th for theft by K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow. Phillips admitted to removing items from FZ Webb & Sons and taking them to the Treasure Chest to try and sell. Bond for Phillips is $1,000 and her court date is September 30th.

33 year old Amy Michelle Davis of Liberty was arrested by Corporal Travis Bryant and 33 year old Eureatha Cripps of Cripps Lane was cited for theft on Wednesday, August 25th. An employee of Rite Aid saw Davis take several items into the restroom and then leave the store. The witness stated she found the empty containers in the restroom, left there by Ms. Davis. The items were found in Ms. Davis' possession upon being arrested. Ms. Cripps was cited for assisting Ms. Davis in the theft. Bond for Davis is $1,000 and the court date for both is September 16th.

43 year old Robert Ernest Rochefort of Puckett Point Road was arrested Thursday, August 26th for vandalism. Corporal Bryant saw a man, Rochefort, run into the roadway on West Broad Street and pick up a large rock and run to the other side of the street where he disposed of it. At the same time, Corporal Bryant was flagged down by Sandra Clark who informed him that Rochefort had just thrown a rock at her car as she was traveling down the roadway causing damage to the side of her vehicle. Bond for Rochefort is $1,000 and his court date is September 16th.

27 year old Courtney Anne Paris of Potts Camp Road was arrested on Thursday, August 26th by Officer Bradley Tatrow and 27 year old Jeremy Daniel Loader of Bethel Road and Samantha Bee Florida of West Broad Street were cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. The Smithville Police Department was assisting probation officers on a home visit at a local motel where Ms. Paris gave officers consent to search. In a drawer in the bathroom officers found two used hypodermic needles and four cut straws with residue in them. Bond for Paris is $1,000 and the court date for all three is September 30th.

The police department will also be conducting sobriety checkpoints and enhanced traffic enforcement on Friday September 3rd and Saturday September 4th in an ongoing effort to provide safer roadways for the public. The department will continue to work with the Governors Highway Safety Office in an effort to keep our roadways safe.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) is Tennessee’s advocate for highway safety. This office works with law enforcement, judicial personnel and community advocates to coordinate activities and initiatives relating to the human behavioral aspects of highway safety.

The GHSO’s mission is to develop, execute and evaluate programs to reduce the number of fatalities, injuries and related economic losses resulting from traffic crashes on Tennessee’s roadways. The office works in tandem with the National Highway Safety Administration to implement programs focusing on occupant protection, impaired driving, speed enforcement, truck and school bus safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety and crash data collection and analysis. Programs administered by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office are 100% federally funded.

DeKalb Emergency Communications District to Receive State Funds for Dispatcher Training

August 26, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Brad Mullinax

The Tennessee Emergency Communications Board (TECB) has made
$2.2 million in funding available to local Emergency Communications Districts for dispatcher training.

"We've set uniform standards because we want to do all we can to improve the effectiveness of 911," said TECB Executive Director Lynn Questell. "We know many districts exceed these standards and provide additional training and support to their dispatchers. We certainly want to provide the local 911 districts with the needed funds to for this training."

"We're pleased we can provide these funds," Questell said. "Not every state has minimum requirements. And among those that do, not every state provides funding for the training. Tennessee continues to be a national leader in 911."

Brad Mullinax, Director of the DeKalb County Emergency Communications District (Central dispatch/911 center) says this extra funding allocated to the local 911 center will help offset the costs of dispatcher training. "Tennessee state law mandates that all dispatchers that receive an emergency call complete 40 hours of on the job training and a 40 hour Public Safety Telecommunicator course. Additionally, all dispatchers are required to complete annual continuing education classes to satisfy to state training requirements. Until recently these mandates were being funded locally. We are very excited about these funds that are being provided by the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board. Training has become a major portion of our budget and this will finally provide some relief for us to provide additional training to our emergency dispatchers with no costs to our taxpayers and local telephone subscribers. We currently employ 8 full time dispatchers and 5 part time dispatchers"

TECB requires that all dispatchers to have 40 hours of supervised, on-the-job training and 40 hours of public safety communications coursework within the first six months of employment. Additionally, dispatchers must participate in regular continuing education.

The training standards in Tennessee are modeled after the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) standards. The dispatcher training funds are available on an annual basis.

"Our Board has set solid standards for the training of 911 dispatchers," said TECB Chair Randy Porter. "We want to be sure the districts have the funds they need to train those dispatchers. Uniform training of dispatchers results in improved response to emergencies."

The TECB was created by the General Assembly in 1998 to assist ECDs' boards of directors in management, operations and accountability, with the goal of establishing reliable emergency communications for all citizens of the state. It's a successful formula; in 2005, Tennessee became the third state in the nation to become Phase II-ready, meaning a 911 operator can obtain a wireless caller's number and location information. In 2005, Tennessee received an award from the Congressional E911 Institute for having the nation's best state system.

The TECB is administratively attached to the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/

DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 9.8% in July

August 26, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate for July was at 9.8%, down from the June rate of 10.1%. The local jobless rate for July, 2009 was 10.7%

The July labor force in DeKalb County was 9,800. A total of 8,840 were employed and 960 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's jobless rate for the month was fifth lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region. Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:

White County- 12.2%
Pickett-12.1%
Jackson- 11.4%
Van Buren-11.4%
Warren-11.3%
Clay- 11.2%
Overton-11.1%
Fentress- 11.1%
Cumberland-10.1%
DeKalb-9.8%
Smith- 9.6%
Cannon- 9.1%
Putnam- 9.0%
Macon- 8.9%

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July was 9.8 percent, down two-tenths of a percentage point from the revised June rate of 10.0 percent. The national unemployment rate for July 2010 was 9.5 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for July show that the rate decreased in 87 counties, increased in 5 counties and remained the same in three counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.4 percent, down from 6.7 percent in June. Scott County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 19.4 percent, down from 20.8 percent, followed by Marshall County at 15.7 percent, down from 16.6 percent in the previous month.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.5 percent, down from 7.8 percent in June. Davidson County was 9.3 percent, up from 9.0 percent. Hamilton County was 8.4 percent, down from 9.1 in June, and Shelby County was 9.9 percent, down from 10.5.

Leadership DeKalb Seeking Participants for New Class

August 25, 2010
Jen Sherwood and Suzanne Williams

Leadership DeKalb is seeking participants for its 13th class to run September 2010 – June 2011. The program's mission is to develop a diverse pool of business and community leaders, and to provide them with the information and tools needed to become more effective and active leaders in creating positive change in DeKalb County.

Anyone who lives or works in DeKalb County is encouraged to join the upcoming class. For more information, please contact Jen Sherwood at 615-464-0645 or the chamber office.

Leadership DeKalb is an adult leadership enhancement program. This program is for individuals who are or show the desire for the role of community trustees. Participants study the county in-depth, strengthen leadership skills and build a network of fellow leaders through the Leadership DeKalb classmates and alumni. Leadership DeKalb shapes our county's future with knowledgeable, effective and active leaders.

Each year, twelve individuals who live and/or work in DeKalb County are selected to participate in the September to June program. Selection into Leadership DeKalb is competitive, based upon a written application. The selection committee considers candidates' involvement in the community and demonstration of their current or future leadership potential. The overall diversity among the class participants - including occupation, age, heritage, gender, education and geography -- plays a significant role in the selection process. Tuition is $175 and is expected to be paid at least in part by the participant. The following dates provide the selection schedule for the Class of 2011:

September 1 - Deadline for application
September 3 - Notification to applicants by letter
September 10 - Tuition payment deadline

Class of 2011 Program Schedule

Program Meeting Days Time Topics

Thursday, Sept 16, 2010
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Opening Retreat (full attendance required)

Thursday, Oct 7, 2010
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Health Care & Quality of Life

Thursday, Nov 18, 2010
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Local Government

Thursday, Dec 9, 2010
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Justice System

Thursday, Jan 20, 2011
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Economic Development

Thursday, Feb 17, 2011
7:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Education

Mon-Tues, March 14-15, 2011
2 pm - 5 pm (overnight)
State Government (Nashville)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Community & Communications

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Center Hill Lake (closing retreat)

Thursday, June 16, 2011
5:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Graduation (families, employers & sponsors are invited)

Participants must be committed to attending all sessions, and a maximum of only 10 excused hours may be missed throughout the year in order to successfully complete the program. Opening retreat and graduation are required.

For questions or more information, contact the chamber office at 597-4163 or Jen Sherwood at 615-464-0645.

Smithville Fire Department Called to Shiroki North America

August 25, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Employees of Shiroki North America, Incorporated on West Broad Street were evacuated as a precaution this morning (Wednesday) after filters caught fire in an air filtering system outside the building forcing smoke into the plant where workers were operating.

Central dispatch received the call at 10:27 a.m. and members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department quickly responded.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker says the filtering system was shut down and firefighters pulled the burning filters out of the unit and extinguished the small fire.

No one was injured.

According to Chief Parker, Shiroki North America has a secondary air filtering unit which was activated in order to keep the plant operating. Once the smoke was cleared from the building, employees returned to work.

Smithville Man Escapes Injury in Truck Crash

August 25, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Man Escapes Injury in Truck Crash

A 27 year old Smithville man escaped injury this morning in a pickup truck accident on the Old Blue Springs Road.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:24 a.m.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Adam Daniel Washer was driving east in a 2005 Ford F150 when he went off the road and ran head-on into a tree. He apparently had fallen asleep.

DeKalb EMS was called to the scene but Washer was apparently uninjured and did not have to be transported to the hospital.

The Short Mountain Highway Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department also responded

County Officials Take Oath of Office

August 24, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Mayor and members of County Commission

Even though their new terms of office don't officially begin until September 1st, seven county officials and thirteen members of the county commission took the oath of office Tuesday afternoon at the courthouse.

In a brief ceremony Tuesday afternoon, Smithville Municipal Judge and County Attorney Hilton Conger administered the oath to County Clerk Mike Clayborn, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, County Mayor Mike Foster, Trustee Sean Driver, Road Supervisor Kenny Edge, and Sheriff Patrick Ray.

General Sessions Judge Bratten Cook, II administered the oath to Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack.

Later in the afternoon, County Mayor Foster administered the oath of office to members of the county commission including Mason Carter and Elmer Ellis, Jr. from the first district; Bobby Joines from the second district; Bradley Hendrix and Jerry Scott from the third district, Wayne Cantrell and David McDowell from the fourth district, Jerry Adcock and John Green from the fifth district, Jeff Barnes and Marshall Ferrell from the sixth district, and Larry Summers and Jimmy Poss from the seventh district. Jack Barton from the second district was absent.

Others elected on August 5th not taking the oath of office Tuesday, still have until September 1st to be sworn into office to begin their new terms.

Judge Cook also administered the oath to Smithville Municipal Judge Hilton Conger whose new appointed term begins September 1st.

(Pictured seated left to right: Bradley Hendrix, Elmer Ellis, Jr. Jimmy Poss, Jerry Adcock, John Green, and Bobby Joines)
(Pictured standing left to right: County Mayor Mike Foster, Mason Carter, David McDowell, Larry Summers, Jerry Scott, Jeff Barnes, Wayne Cantrell, and Marshall Ferrell)

Aldermen to Adopt New Ordinance Addressing Wages of City Employees

August 24, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Taft Hendrixson

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen, meeting in a Monday night workshop on the budget, discussed adopting a new ordinance addressing wages of city employees.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson says the city needs a new wage scale because the existing one is confusing and not equitable to employees. " The old wage chart, I can't make rhyme nor reason out of it, the way the computer was doing the wages and the raises every year. It's just not equitable how these raises are determined. There needs to be something done about it to make it equitable for everybody."

So the mayor has proposed a new "wage chart" which if approved would take effect this budget year, 2010-11. Mayor Hendrixson says under the proposal, pay rates would be based on those in the 2009-10 budget, but there would be a change affecting new employees and the way pay raises are determined. "This is for employees starting after July 1st, 2010. The other employees, their wage will be whatever it is plus either cost of living or step raises."

"I've simplified it. The first four years, you (employees) would get a fifty cents (per hour) a year step raise and you would get it on your anniversary. What's been happening in the past, for someone say starting in August, it would be 23 months before they would get their step raise and I don't think that's right. That needs to be on their anniversary. Then after the four years, there would be a cost of living raise if the board deems that they want to do that every year. I think that needs to be in the ordinance. I don't think it (cost of living raise) needs to be automatic. There's towns around us where employees haven't gotten a raise in three or four years. We're lucky we've given one every year but I believe it needs to be at the board's discretion. There are four salaried employees and I think the board needs to set their salary every year. That's my opinion."

Mayor Hendrixson says wages of city employees are comparable to the pay of other towns and many local industries. In some cases, he says it's even better, considering the benefits. "All of these wages are comparable to any of the factories here or better and are far better than what the county pays. They are comparable to anything around and better than most. And you can add seven thousand dollars a year to each one of these employees for health, life, and dental insurance, that nobody else gets to my knowledge. That's a seven thousand dollar a year perk. When you talk to somebody out of town about this they just can't believe we do this (offer benefits) and there may come a time when we can't, but I hope we can keep it up."

The proposed new ordinance may also require city employees that need certification to become certified within eighteen months of employment. Alderman Aaron Meeks spoke to this issue. "Any employee hired that requires certification, they should have eighteen months to obtain certification. If they don't obtain it within eighteen months they will either be terminated or transferred to another department if we have an opening where they can transfer."

Mayor Hendrixson added that for all new hires " the first sixty days, they need to be on probation, just like we have had it. At the end of sixty days, if they're not working out, they can be terminated at the board's discretion."

Alderman Meeks suggested that a new ordinance be adopted soon to address these issues. " I think we need to draft an ordinance that would replace three old ordinances (regarding wages) to reflect these changes that we've discussed and then I believe we will have a good starting point for our city employees pay scales."

Once the proposed ordinance is drafted by city attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. the mayor will schedule a special meeting to consider first reading passage. The new budget ordinance may also be scheduled for passage at the same meeting.

Public hearings and second and final reading passage of each ordinance would follow within two weeks of first reading.

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