By Crystal McGough
The newly elected Clay City Council held a special-called meeting at the Clay Community Center Thursday night to discuss the council members’ responsibilities, the organizational agenda for the new term and future plans for city employees.
Nothing discussed at the meeting will go into effect until the council has been sworn into office and the issues voted on.
The new council will be sworn into office at its next council meeting on Nov. 5 at the Clay Community Center.
During the meeting, the elected council discussed which committees and boards each member is expected to oversee.
Mayor Elect Charles Webster is expected to oversee the Finance Committee.
Becky Johnson, Council Place 1, is expected to become the new mayor pro tem and oversee schools and Planning and Zoning.
Kevin Small, Council Place 2, is expected to oversee the Library Board and Public Works, which will include roads and transportation.
Ben Thackerson, Council Place 3, is expected to oversee Parks and Recreation.
Mark Halstead, Council Place 4, is expected to oversee Community Development (including business development), Annexations, Inspections, and Seniors.
Ricky Baker, Council Place 5, is expected to oversee Public Safety.
“We’re not in office yet, but once we get in there, that’s going to be one of our priorities is Public Safety,” Webster said.
The council plans to vote on these responsibilities at its next meeting.
The council also discussed how to handle the hiring or rehiring of city employees. Webster said that the council will most likely vote at it’s second official meeting on Nov. 15 to “put everybody back to work temporarily” while he evaluates the employees and their job descriptions.
“I want to get our budget in line with our employees,” Webster said.
The mayor elect did present to the elected council the possibility of making Alan Summers, of Clay, the new city attorney. Webster said that he has interviewed other firms, as well, but feels that Summers will fit the position.
“He has a heart for the community,” Webster said. “He wants us to do things the right way
. He’s been involved with city law before, so he understands city law. I feel like he’s just a perfect fit.”
Russell Steen has been the city attorney through the last administration.
In addition, the council discussed plans to strike several items from Ordinance 2008-30, the organizational ordinance for the last term.
In Section 6, number 7, which addresses scheduled public comments, a time limit of three minutes per person and a total of 15 minutes per group segment, with the time being extended at the discretion of the council, was proposed. It was also suggested that scheduled comments could only refer to items on the council’s agenda.
The council talked about striking: Section 7, which states that “no member shall speak more than twice on the same subject without permission of the presiding officer”; Section 9, which states that “every officer, whose duty is to report at the regular meetings of the council, who shall de in default thereof, may be fined at the discretion of the council”; Section 10, “Motions shall be reduced to writing when required by the presiding officer of the council or any member of the council. All resolutions and ordinances and any amendments thereto shall be in writing at the time of introduction; and Section 11, “Motions to reconsider must be by a member who voted with a majority and at the same or next succeeding meeting of the council.”
It was also suggested to reword Section 21 to say that the council member acting for each respective committee will make committee reports to the council, instead of the committee chairman making the reports.
The council also discussed the possibility of doing away with precouncil meetings, in favor of having the “precouncil” discussions at the regular meeting.
Beginning Nov. 15, the new council plans to begin holding its regular council meetings at the new Clay City Hall.
Again, none of the items discussed at tonight’s meeting will go into effect until the council votes on them.