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Council accepts donations, exact wording in change to city operations obtained

Picayune’s City Council approved motions to keep a current public defender in place and accepted donations from various sources.

Also, the Item acquired the exact wording read by Councilor Anna Turnage concerning changes to the way the city operates, specifically concerning who the city clerk now reports to.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the Council approved a request to keep Matthew D. Busby on as the city’s public defender. Municipal Court Clerk Lisa Albritton said Busby has been serving in that role since the previous public defender quit back in December and requested to stay on in that capacity.

Additionally, donations from Dr. Norman and Mary Whittaeur valued at $12,000 were accepted. The agenda states the donation is comprised of various items.

A sponsorship from Coast Electric Power Association for the Keep Picayune Beautiful cleanup day was also accepted.

Huey P. Stockstill LLC intends to donate materials and labor to pave an alley behind the Post Office. Public Works Director Eric Morris said the donation will cover all expenses for that work.

After accepting a donation from the granddaughter of Marie P. Williams for the placement of a memorial bench at the Eighth Street cemetery, the Council also approved a motion to allow the installation of eight more benches at Crosby Commons.

Morris said the change was made after several community members expressed interest in purchasing more benches for that park. Morris said the benches will be placed on the east and west sides of the park, as they are donated by community members.

The cost for each bench will be a bit more than the benches that are there now. Morris said any new benches will be of the same type and material as those currently in the park. The cost to community members for each bench went up from $500 to about $888. Installation of each bench will cost the city about $200 to install the concrete slab, conduct landscaping and purchase the dedication plaque.

Work to replace the aging Airport Weather Observation System at the Municipal Airport may be delayed, but the Council approved a motion Tuesday to complete the final paper work so the funding will be ensured. Jonathan Hickman with Dungan Engineering said the entire cost for the project will be covered by the Federal Aviation Administration. It might be a while before the necessary equipment can be purchased, however. Due to current shortages, Hickman estimates it might be six months before the equipment can be procured. Once the equipment arrives, it should take a month to install.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the Council approved a motion that put the city clerk under the direct supervision of the city manager. Prior to that change, the city clerk reported directly to the City Council.

A public records request was submitted after Tuesday’s meeting to get the exact wording of the motion made by Councilor Anna Turnage, after city attorney Nathan Farmer sent an email stating the Item would have to get the information from the city clerk. That wording, as it will be displayed in the minutes, is as follows:

“Motion was made by Council Member Turnage, seconded by Council Member Stevens, that pursuant to the Organization Chart, the City Ordinances and Mississippi State Law, the City Clerk, Deputy Clerk(s), and the Office of the City Clerk shall be solely administered and supervised by the City Manager; the City Clerk shall fully cooperate with the City Manager and shall provide full and complete access to any and all information contained in and/stored in all files (paper, electronic and/or digital) in the possession, custody and control of the City Clerk; and, the City Clerk shall assist the City Manager in securing, making duplicate copies of and/or surrendering such files, inclusive of providing password(s) to access such files.”

All voted yay.

“Motion was made by Council Member Turnage, seconded by Council Member Stevens, that we direct the City Attorney to prepare for consideration at the Recess Meeting of Council and Ordinances regarding the City Clerk, Treasurer, and Deputy Clerk(s) shall be appointed by, removed by and supervised solely by the City Manager.”

All voted yay. 

The next meeting will be July 20 at 5 p.m. in City Hall.