Bobby Wilkey will join the Kingston Maintenance Department as a part-time employee, while positions for part-time treasurer and seasonal maintenance will go unfilled.
The addition of Sidney Solomon as part-time treasurer, a position advocated by Mayor Dexter Jones and identified by city charter, failed for lack of a motion. Former part-time maintenance worker Antavious Linley was denied the position of seasonal help for lack of a second following the motion for approval made by his grandfather and Councilman Billy Sanders. Kingston City Attorney Peter Olson confirmed that the city charter does not include an anti-nepotism clause.
"I would say that other than Wilkey, I would hold off on other people until we get a good picture of our finances," said Councilman Ed Miklas.
In disagreement with Miklas and other councilmen, Jones urged the approval of new hires on the basis of need and that each position had been allocated for in the 2011 budget approved last month. Jones has repeatedly warned of the increasing need for additional help in the maintenance and public works department. To this, the council did approve Wilkey and asked for renewed attention at re-acquiring the help of inmate work details, which were lost after an unsupervised prisoner escaped in a city vehicle earlier this year.
Another hesitation brought up by Miklas was fear of possible litigation. This matter, concerning the termination of Kimberly Lovins, took up the first hour of Monday's meeting in closed session with lawyers from both sides present.
"At this point right now, we have authorized the attorneys that are representing us to get with her attorneys and kind of see if we can get something worked out," Jones said. "My wish is that we can get this behind us as soon as possible and move forward as quick as possible. It's been a stressful time for everyone and hopefully we can get it done here shortly. ... It's in the hands of the attorneys now."
Also on Monday's agenda was the appointment of Mike Powell as a reserve officer for investigations and management of the evidence room. Although as a reserve officer Powell would not be paid by the city, the item died for lack of a second.
No action was taken on two methods for securing the fuel depot, as suggested by CPA Lloyd Williamson at the 2010 audit presentation, in favor of further discussion and additional bids. The first, favored by the mayor, is the addition of an electric gate at a cost of $6,000; while the second, suggested by councilmen Miklas and Louise Howell, was a fuel management system costing $11,000.
The council did approve continued negotiations between the mayor and the Bartow County Board of Education toward the purchase or use of the old Kingston Elementary gymnasium for city recreational purposes.