Patrolman Matthew Holmes of the Smithville Police Department has been transferred to the position of Investigator.
The aldermen Monday night approved the transfer with three voting in the affirmative. Alderman and Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks made the motion. Alderman Shawn Jacobs offered a second to the motion and Alderman Cecil Burger join them in voting in favor. Alderman W.J. (Dub) White and Alderman Steve White said they could not vote due to a personal conflict, since Holmes is married to Dub White's granddaughter who is also Steve White's niece.
Mayor Taft Hendrixson said that he, Meeks, and Police Chief Randy Caplinger held interviews Thursday or Friday last week. Three people, Patrolmen Scott Davis, Matt Farmer, and Matthew Holmes, were interviewed after the position was posted. "I think it was the consensus of the interview board that Matthew Holmes was probably the most qualified."
Holmes, age 24, joined the Smithville Police Department as a patrolman in 2007 after a brief stint with the Putnam County Sheriff's Department as a reserve officer. A graduate of DeKalb County High School, Holmes furthered his education at Motlow State Community College and Tennessee Tech University and then attended Walter State Community College where he received his police training.
In other business, the aldermen voted to have a continuing budget resolution drawn up to keep city government operating, effective July 1st until a new budget is approved for the 2010-11 fiscal year.
Copies of the proposed budget were made available to the aldermen two weeks ago. Normally a new budget is adopted by ordinance on two readings during the June meetings and is in place by July 1st.
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Alderman Meeks said he believes the mayor and aldermen should have at least one or more workshop meetings to review the budget before it is considered for passage. "I believe that we should delay passing the budget and have some workshops on the budget before we pass it. That is my recommendation."
Alderman Jacobs said he agreed with Meeks. "I think there are some things we really need to address that have not been addressed in the budget. I don't know how we're going to pay for them right now but I think we have some critical needs that we need to take a look at and I would hate to see us rush into doing this with some needs. I'd like to have the department heads present with us as well, if that's appropriate as we look at the budget."
Meeks suggested that any budget workshop be delayed until after the Fiddler's Jamboree.
Mayor Hendrixson said a special meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 29th to formally adopt a continuing budget resolution, to swear into office the mayor and aldermen-elect, and for the mayor to make his appointments.
The mayor and aldermen will not meet on Monday, July 5th as had been previously advertised as a regular meeting. Since that day will be observed as part of the 4th of July weekend, no meeting will be held that night.
A few months ago, the aldermen adopted a new ordinance to better regulate groups conducting fundraisers at busy city intersections, particularly at Broad Street and Congress Boulevard. Alderman Meeks says some problems still persist. "We've had several folks have fundraisers at the Highway 56/70 intersection over the last few weeks and there have been some problems. In fact we've almost had to have a full time officer down there during those fundraisers and I don't believe that should be the responsibility of the taxpayers to have to pay for an officer to be down there full time. This past Saturday, we had two groups down there, one had a permit and were legitimate and had a right to be there. We had another group that did not have a right to be there and I believe they gave our police officers a hard time. That was not fair or right because the officers were simply obeying city regulations. If this continues to be a major problem we may have to come back and re-address this issue and do away with it altogether."
Alderman Jacobs, said he has also had some complaints. " I had heard a complaint also of people, a few weeks ago, selling things and they were literally standing in the middle of the road flagging cars down. It's very dangerous and if you're a motorist, it can be scary."
Meeks stressed that the intent of the ordinance was for safety." It was not to prevent anybody from raising funds. But if they're going to ignore the safety regulations, we may have to take a further step. If we do, we can always address that at this board."
Under the city's ordinance, non-profit organizations are limited to not more than two charitable roadblocks per year; all participants are required to wear orange or yellow vests or jackets; groups are required to show written proof that they are a legitimate non-profit 501C3 or 4 organization; solicitors are prohibited from standing in the road ( they are required to stand on the sidewalks near the intersections); solicitors must be at least 14 years of age or older to participate in the roadblocks); and a four hour per day time limit is established for any group to solicit donations at intersections. Groups are required to submit, in writing to the Chief of Police, a proposal for the specific time and place of the road block and the precautions to be implemented by the organization; and the groups must receive prior written approval by the Chief of Police to have the roadblocks.