BY DAVID FISHER
GLEASON (January 14) — One of the top items on the agenda during a special-called meeting of the Gleason City Board on Thursday January 14, involved last month’s resignation of former City Recorder Angela Hunt, who resigned her position after the Tennessee Comptroller’s office and the District Attorney’s office began investigating issues within the City Recorder’s office.
Interim City Recorder Appointed
Gleason City Attorney Beau Pemberton, who was appointed to the post in December of 2020, stated, because there is an investigation into activities within Gleason’s City Recorder’s office, the Tennessee Comptroller, and mayor and board of aldermen cannot comment on the investigation, except to say it is ongoing.
According to Pemberton, the investigation involves issues that allegedly occurred under the previous board of mayor and alderman, and none of the activities took place during the tenure of newly-seated Mayor Charles Anderson or board members.
In light of Hunt’s resignation, Pemberton stated there are a few things the board needs to do. The first is authorize Mayor Anderson to begin a search for a new city recorder, in coordination with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), the city attorney and the board, to begin soliciting resumes and interviewing qualified candidates.
Secondly, Pemberton stated the board needs to formally hire Sharon City Recorder Donna Stricklin, who is a Certified Municipal Financial Officer, as a contract service provider as interim city recorder, and authorize her to perform those duties pending the appointment of a full-time city recorder.
A third action required by the board is to transfer money out of the city recorder’s line item of the budget and place it into contract services, in order to pay Stricklin.
Mayor Anderson explained Stricklin’s work for Gleason, as supervising City Recorder, is part-time and separate from her position in Sharon. He noted she would not be paid by the City of Sharon while she’s at Gleason City Hall. Anderson said Sharon Mayor Ali Stalter “has graciously allowed Stricklin to do this.” He added the City of Gleason is paying Stricklin “a straight, hourly rate with no benefits.”
The board approved all of the items regarding the city recorder’s office, as recommended by Pemberton, with aldermen Danny Browning, Tommy Hodges, Wade Cook and Keith Radford voting in favor of these actions.
City Charter Amended
On the recommendation of Dana Deem, who serves as Municipal Management Consultant with MTAS, the board voted unanimously to amend Gleason’s City Charter to eliminate the requirement that the City Recorder reside within the urban growth boundary of Gleason. This step was taken to fill the office in case there are no qualified applicants within the urban growth boundary of Gleason.
The City Recorder is the only position that currently requires the person hired for the job to reside in the urban growth boundary of Gleason.
Pemberton stated, since the city’s charter is a private act, once the charter is amended by the city, it will be forwarded to Nashville in coordination with MTAS, where legislative attorneys will write it up in bill form. It will then run through the Tennessee House and Senate, be placed on the consent calendar, and come out within three to four weeks. It must then move through committees before being approved.
According to Deem, 76th District State Representative Tandy Darby and 24th District State Senator John Stephens will present the resolution to the Tennessee Legislature, where it must be approved by a two-thirds majority and signed by Governor Bill Lee. When the resolution is sent back to the Gleason City Board, it requires a two-thirds majority to go into effect.
Time and Date Ordinance
The board unanimously approved the second reading of an amendment to the City of Gleason’s Municipal Code, changing the regular monthly meeting time and date from 7 p.m. on the third Thursday to 7 p.m. on the third Monday. The exception is the third Monday in February, because it is Presidents’ Day. Instead, the meeting will be held Thursday, February 18, beginning at 7 p.m. Additionally, if the meeting date falls on a holiday on a future third Monday, it will be rescheduled for another day.
Gate & Fencing at City Garage / Dumpster
According to Water Department Supervisor Tony Terrell, the gate at the City Shop is in bad shape and needs to be replaced. He said the gate is left open during the day to allow public access to the dumpster located inside. Because there is city-owned equipment inside the compound, this creates a security problem.
He said what needs to happen is to relocate the dumpster outside the facility and limit access to the compound to city employees.
Plans call for installing a 50 foot by 50 foot chain-link fence with three strands of barbed wire across the top to limit access to the dumpster.
Mayor Anderson stated the city owns property directly across the street from the main entrance to the city compound, which would be a good place to locate the dumpster. “We won’t have to purchase land, only the fence for the area surrounding the dumpster,” Mayor Anderson said. Although a remote-control gate was discussed, he noted it would be a manual gate.
As Public Works Director Rodney Garner was sick with COVID-19, Water Department Supervisor Tony Terrell updated board members with ongoing projects on Garner’s behalf. Terrell stated another Public Works Department employee is just returning to work after being off for two weeks because of the coronavirus. He noted potholes are being filled, water leaks fixed, and a couple of sewer-related issues addressed. Terrell said city employees are also performing vehicle maintenance.
Terrell presented board members with a map of the city’s sewer system, in order to illustrate where a 1,028 linear-feet sewer pipe connects to a manhole across the street from Gleason City Hall to a manhole on Highway 190. He stated a Community Development Block Grant is covering the cost of installing three new manholes to provide adequate access to the pipe.
Additionally, Terrell said, “Repairs to a sewer pipe along East Grove Road are 98 percent complete; all that’s lacking is some yard work.” The damaged pipe was located during a recent smoke test of the sewer system. An inflow and infiltration problem was corrected by installing the manhole above the street. He noted the pipes carried the water without any problems during a recent downpour.
“We also found a couple of manholes, which were paved over and had been lost for years,” Terrell said. “One is in front of Gleason Post Office and the other at the end of Lowrey Street on West Street.” He stated, once they were located, the manholes were raised to street level to provide service access.
In the Parks and Recreation report, Mayor Anderson stated the new playground equipment is installed, and the matting will be installed around the perimeter of the playground equipment. Once landscaping timbers are in place, gravel will be spread around the area.
“We had a mini-tornado that came through the area and destroyed the scoreboard at Snider Park,” he said. “Insurance helped to pay for replacing it, but it hasn’t arrived yet. It will be installed soon. Insurance money was also received to pay for wind damage to fencing at the park.”
Library Chairman Jamie Roney reported, from January 2020 through December 2020 operating expenses were $1,000-$1,500 per month. Roney stated plans call for Gleason Library to be an extension of Gleason School’s library. So, when there are things that can’t be done at the school, students can utilize the city’s library.
A spokesperson for Gleason’s Downtown Revitalization Committee commended the hard work Mayor Anderson and other volunteers provided to complete the caboose project. He stated 90 stones were sold for the memorial wall at Snider Park and 10 more must be sold before they can be engraved. He added those wishing to dedicate a stone may do so by visiting gleasononline.com or at Gleason City Hall.
In announcements, Mayor Anderson stated Gleason City Hall is closed to walk-in business during the remainder of January due to COVID-19. He mentioned payments could be made by placing checks in the drop-box at City Hall. Local citizens may also pay their water bills, property taxes and citations online at
www.gleasononline.com. For more information, call 648-5547.
Mayor Anderson stated Gleason’s City Boardroom was sanitized prior to Thursday night’s meeting, and this will be the practice in the foreseeable future.
The next meeting of the Gleason City Board is 7 p.m. on Monday, February 15.