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LaFollette Workshop gets heated

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By Natasha LaFayette

During the Monday night workshop, The Lafollette Council and mayor debated several topics, resulting in a heated conversation about administrative situations.

Sparking the debate was the potential transfer of Rick Collinsworth from the recreation to the sanitation department.

According to City Adminstrator David Young, both department heads have agreed to the transfer.

“He has been working with them and proves to be an excellent worker for what Mr. (Jim) Mullins needs. He’s been rotating on the garbage truck with the other guys,” said Young of the nearly 12-year city employee. “I recommend that we allow this transfer.”

After the recommendation, Mayor Mike Stanfield question if Collinsworth was aware he would be starting on the garbage truck after the transfer.

The proposition that a 12-year employee would start at the bottom of the department intaited conflict among the council.

“The last one hired, you’re automatically on the garbage truck,” said Stanfield.

Mullins questioned whether Collinsworth’s experience would exempt him from full-time garbage truck duties, to which Stanfield replied, “It don’t mean nothin.”

“That’s policy, if you transfer from one department to another you are automatically on the garbage truck,” said Stanfield.

After Stanfield stated his interpretation of the policy, Young withdrew his recommendation for Collinsworth’s transfer.

“That’s not your call, Mr. Young,” said Hatmaker before he started questioning Mullins and recreation department director Johnny Byrge about the possible transfer.

“I have no problem with you calling him a laborer, but the rest of those guys up there at the street department may have a problem with it,” said Stanfield.

Mullins said he believed the employees were fine with the decision, yet Stanfield said he received calls from three employees in the street department who were not in favor of the transfer.

“I think David (Young) hit the key there, let’s leave the man there” said Hatmaker.

The council’s next area of dieffering opinions occurred Hatmaker addressed the upcoming leave of clerk Amanda Hardwick from the front office.

Hatmaker proposed filling the front office position with another part-time employee.

“Let me kind of weigh in on this without making anybody really mad,” said Young. “I am the city administrator. I am in charge of administration and administrative services down here and all the employees here and this has not even one time been mentioned to me that she was leaving.”

Young requested Hardwick discuss her leave with him, because he would have input in whomever fills the position.

“You know she’s teaching, David,” said City Recorder Linda White repetitively.

Young maintained he was unaware of anyone in the front office vacating a position.

Hatmaker then said Young was jumping to conclusions.

“You have jumped to conclusions, you are already hiring somebody and transferring them into my department when I’ve not even been told anything about this,” said Young. “The last thing that I need is for you to tell me how to run my department.”

White continued to state she needed help in the front office. Young replied he would make sure White had ample help.

“I assume if I was the administrator I would have known this, if one of my employees was working the way she’s working,” said Hatmaker.

“You are not the administrator,” said Young.

White stated there was no communication between the front office where she worked and the back office where Young worked.

Stanfield instructed White to tell Hardwick to explain the situation to Young.

Police business

LaFollette Police Chief Ben Baird commended two officers after giving his notice for retirement.

City Administrator David Young read a brief description of the recent heroic act of two LaFollette Officers at a recent traffic accident.

“This is an example of these officers going above and beyond the call of duty,” said Young about Officers Steve Wallen and Jason Marlow.

When Young finished with the chief’s commendations, Mayor Mike Stanfield then commended two more officers, based on a citizen’s praise for the response of officers to a home burglary.

Councilman Wayne Kitts questioned whether or not the commendations should have come from Baird.

“She wanted to see the mayor and that’s what I am, the mayor,” said Stanfield about his reason for drafting commendations for the police department.

Kitts said Stanfield should have discussed it with the police chief.

Parking and leases

Concluding the meeting, former mayor Cliff Jennings addressed the council about a piece of property he owns.

According to Jennings, warning tickets are being written for people parking on the sidewalks along that property. Jennings claimed it was not city property and should be exempt.

“Times have changed,” said Hatmaker.

Both Hatmaker and Stanfield argued with Jennings about his request, as a citizen, to check about a previous policy allowing parking on the particular sidewalk in question.

The council also discussed the lease agreement with St. Mary’s Hospital.

While the hospital was asking for a lease extension of five years, Fannon said he believed the lease was originally agreed to be 10 years when reissued.

When Hatmaker joined the council, he said the lease was also for 10 years.

The council will meet in full session next Tuesday at 7 p.m.