Next Level Leaders contributes to support E-911 building

Shown L to R: Corey Cockrell Next Level Leaders, Iris Sermon, E911 Executive Director Latanya Cockrell- Fowler and Johnny Isaac E911 Board  Chair

Corey Cockrell and Latanya Cockrell-Fowler, officers of Next Level Leaders, a charity connected to the Rivers Edge Bingo, presented Johnny Isaac, Board Chair and Iris Sermon, Executive Director of E-911 with a check for $3,000 towards furniture for their new building.
The new E-911 building is located on Highway 43 behind the Department of Human Resources Building. The building is a block and concrete structure, a part of which is designed as a storm shelter, to withstand hurricane and tornado winds in excess of 150 miles per hour.
Iris Sermon explained, “We had a CDBG grant from the State of Alabama, through the Greene County Commission to build our new building which will house our countywide emergency dispatch system as well as other critical emergency services. After the state required us to change and strengthen the specifications of the building, we did not have enough money to complete construction, radio equipment and furnishing the new facility.”
Johnny Isaac said, “ We are still expecting the County Commission to pave around our building and create parking spaces as part of their matching contribution to the CBDG grant.
We are also hopeful we can find funds for $200,000 of new radio dispatching equipment we will need to upgrade our E-911 services for Greene County.”
Sermon pointed out that the dispatching equipment for Greene County costs as much or more to serve a widely dispersed rural county area as well as the same system serving thousands of people in a concentrated municipal area. “We are looking for sympathetic supporters who want to see E-911 be successful and effective and will help us with our radio tower, dispatching and other needs at E-911,” said Sermon.
Persons, businesses and organizations interested in contributing toward E-911 should contact Iris Sermon at 205-372-1911.

County Commission approves proposal to curb Beaver population in the county

The Greene County Commission acted on various considerations at its monthly meeting held Monday, June 10, 2019. The commission approved Lee’s Wildlife Services’ proposal to trap and remove Beavers under designated roads where Beaver dams are erected. According to engineer Branch, nine sites have been targeted. Branch explained that this is a situation we have to continuously manage in the county.
According to action taken at the meeting, the Commission will be seeking to fill a part-time labor position for the Solid Waste Department as well as a van driver for the Eutaw Nutrition Site.
The commission also acted on the following:
Approved an ABC license for Atkins’ Bar-B-Q.
Approved the county’s contract renewal with Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Approved Mr. J.E. Morrow to serve on the County Board of Equalization.
Approved Ms. Dotha Williams to serve as District 5 representative on E911 Board.
Tabled appointment to E911 Board for District 2.
Approved Engineer Willie Branch’s request to submit HRRP application.
Authorized Engineer Branch to proceed with allocating remaining federal funds for infrastructure.
Approved travel for CFO to County Government Institute June 19-20, 2019 in Prattville; and travel for office manager to ACCA Annual Convention August 20-22, 2019 in Perdido Beach.
Approved the finance report, payment of claims and budget amendments.
The CFO reported the following bank balances as of May 19, 2019: CitizenTrust Bank – $3,410,113.02; Merchants & Farmers Bank – $1,957,146.20; Bank of New York – $955,253.61; and CD. Bond Investments – $932,332.28

School board hires new administrators for Robert Brown Middle School

At its monthly meeting held Monday, June 10, 2019, the Greene County Board of Education approved the superintendent’s recommendations for Principal and Assistant Principal at Robert Brown Middle School. Shwanta Owens, of Hueytown, AL was selected as Principal and Brittany Harris of Demopolis, AL was selected as Assistant Principal. Each will be offered a one year contract commencing July 1, and July 24, 2019 respectively.
Ms. Shwanta Owens’ current position is Director of Early College, University of Alabama at Birmingham. She serves as the liaison between Woodlawn High School, UAB and other Early College Partners. Previously she has worked as a teacher in various public school systems in Alabama in the area of language arts. She holds a Master of Arts Educational Leadership; Alabama Educational Specialists Degree; Master of Arts Secondary Education Language Arts and a Bachelor of Arts Secondary Education Language Arts.
Ms. Brittany D. Harris’ current position is as First Grade Teacher at Southview Elementary School, Tuscaloosa, AL. She has taught previously in elementary schools in Mississippi. She holds an Educational Specialist Degree in Instructional Leadership; Master of Arts in Instructional Leadership; Master of Education in Elementary Education; Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.
Other personnel services acted on by the board included the following:

  • Approved the voluntary transfer of Drenda Morton, Librarian, from Robert Brown Middle /school to Librarian at Greene County High School; Fentress Means, part-time Physical Education Teacher at Eutaw Primary to Part-time Physical Education Teacher at Greene County High School.
  • Approved: Eutaw Primary School Re-hiring: Katlin Whittle, Part-time Visual Arts Teacher; Jacqueline Allen, Reading Tutor.
    *Approved Robert Brown Middle School Re-Hiring: Kotoya Quarrels, Math Teacher; Brittany January, Math Teacher; Katlin Whittle, Visual Arts Teacher; Rebecca Coleman, Computer Science; Alisa Ward, Elementary Teacher; Jacqueline Carter, Science Teacher.
  • Approved Greene County High School Re-hire: Elroy Skinner, Math Teacher; Ann Spree, Math Tutor; Twelia Morris, Secretary, Greene County Career Center.
  • Approved Re-Assignments: Garry Rice, Math Specialist, Greene County School System, Grades K-12; Fredrick Square, Lead Teacher, Assistant Principle, Greene County Learning Academy.
  • Approved Extended Contract: Willie Simmons, Principal, Greene County High School.
    Contract Personnel: Cynthia Crawford, Technical Support, Greene County Board.
  • Approved Resignation-Retirement: Timothy Gibbs, JROTC, Greene County High School, effective July 1, 2019; Glen Monroe, Senior Army Instructor, Greene County Career Center, effective July 1, 2019; Diana Bowen, Teacher, Eutaw Primary School, effective August 1, 2019.
  • Approved GCH Summer School Program: Angela Harkness, Teacher.
  • Approved Family Medical Leave/Catastrophic Leave: Regina Harmon, Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School.
  • Approved Salary Adjustments for: Sarah Hall, Secretary to the Superintendent; Tracy Hunter, Secretary, GCHS.
    Approved Supplemental Contract for: Sharon Washington, Special Projects; Linda Little, Cheerleader Sponsor, GCHS.
    The board approved the summer schedule June 2 through July11, 2019, and the following personnel for the 21st Center Community Learning Centers Summer Enrichment Program – Robert Brown Middle School: Andrea Perry, Director; Drenda Morton, Lead Teacher; Twelia Morris, Teacher Assistant; Vanessa Bryant, Teacher; Raven Bryant, Teacher; Miakka Taylor, Teacher; Alisia Allen, Teacher; Janice Jeames, Teacher; Mary Hobson, Teacher Aide; and Anika Batch, Teacher Aide.
    Eutaw Primary School: Keisha Williams, Lead Teacher; Tamecisha Abrams, Teacher; Pamela Pasteur, Teacher; Genetta Bishop, Teacher; Bernice Smith, Computer Lab Teacher; Shirley Noland, Librarian; Denise Horton, Teacher Aide.
    CNP Personnel for Summer Foods Service Program: Sandy Wilson, Gloria Lyons, Mary Hill, Amanda Askew, Rosie Davis, Tina Cherry.
    Under the Administrative Services, the board approved a 4-day work week for all extended employees beginning June 3 – July 26, 2019; approved CNP PACA purchasing agreement with Jefferson County Purchasing Division; approved 3 SRO contracts between Greene Board, Greene County Commission and Greene County Sheriff. The Resource Officers will be housed at Eutaw Primary, Robert Brown Middle and Greene County High Schools.
    The board approved the job description for Mathematical Specialist for the Greene County School System; approved request for Debate Team to attend Youth Leadership Training Conference in Washington, D.C. June 1-8, 2019; Approved payment of all bills and payroll.
    The Greene County Board of Education authorized the sale of the former Birdine School facility with designated acreage to the Town of Forkland with two contingencies: 1. The State of Alabama returning the Birdine property to the Greene County Board of Education. 2. Following an appraisal, the property is sold at fair market value.
    The board also authorized the superintendent and board president to prepare a deed to the Town of Boligee directing specific use of the former Paramount facility and delineating the parameters of educational competitors.

School Board finalizes new superintendent’s contract

Dr. Corey Jones, new superintendent Greene County School System finalizes employment contract with School Board Members Kashaya Cockrell; Carrie Dancy; Dr. Jones; Attorney Hank Sanders; Board President Leo Branch and Board Vice President Dr. Carol P. Zippert

The Greene County Board of Education met in a special session, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, to finalize the contract for employment of Dr. Corey Jones, the superintendent-select for Greene County School System. Dr. Jones’ employment is for a three year term commencing July1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2022.
The official document states that this contract “… shall remain in full force and effect unless modified by mutual consent of the school board and the superintendent or unless terminated as provided in the contract under the Termination” heading.
The school board must also notify the superintendent in writing on or before June 30, 2021, (one year prior to his contract ending) whether or not it intends to renew the contract for an additional term commencing July 1, 2022. Likewise, if the superintendent intends not to seek another contract with the school district, he must give the board written notice of his decision no later than one calendar year prior to expiration of this contract.The superintendent serves as Secretary of the Board and as educational leader of the district “…as required by the laws of the State of Alabama and the lawful policies and directives of the board. The superintendent’s duties shall include those duties as set forth in Alabama law, and Greene County Board of Education Policy.”
The contract states that no later than October 1, 2019 the superintendent shall develop and submit to the board in writing proposed school system goals and objectives. “The Strategic Plan should be addressed in the superintendent’s goals and objectives along with the proposed means of measuring such accomplishments.”
Beginning June 1, 2020 and for each year of this contract thereafter, the school board shall evaluate and assess in writing the performance of the superintendent using an instrument selected by the board.
Dr. Jones will receive a salary of $102,000 annually and will be entitled to state pay raises afforded certified personnel in the appropriate tier. Other benefits available to the superintendent include health and related benefits; retirement benefits; life and disability insurance; vacation time; sick leave; professional growth experiences; professional membership in related fields; technology and related support; business expense allowance; and access to an automobile for personal and professional use.

Newswire : Arab autocrats funding violent crackdown in Sudan

Sudan’s military junta turns guns on civilian protestors

June 3, 2019 (GIN) – The hopeful path to peace in Sudan evaporated almost overnight as members of Sudan’s military junta suddenly cocked their rifles and aimed them at a sit-down demonstration by hundreds of civilians.

Over 30 Sudanese peaceful protestors preparing for the Muslim ritual Eid al Fitr – Festival of Breaking the Fast – lost their lives in an instant. Audio from civilian radios posted online captured the sounds of crying, shouting, and nonstop gunfire.

The question on everyone’s lips has been: What changed? What unleashed this deadly assault on quietly seated pro-democracy demonstrators?

Some analysts suspect the influence of ‘outside agitators’ – namely the autocratic leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – who had tried to maintain ousted president Omar al-Bashir in power but, failing that, would fuel a counter-coup under the leadership of Sudan’s restive military junta.

These countries had faced their own “Arab Spring” years back and were unwilling to see another pro-democracy movement rise in this major center of influence, reports Simon Tisdall of The Guardian news.

Only a week before, negotiations appeared to be nearing a settlement between Sudan’s ruling military junta and the civilian leaders of a movement that was now numbering in the thousands. But the talks stalled over a core demand that civilians assume immediate leadership of the country until elections could be held.

The Sudanese military leaders turned to their allies in the anti-democratic governments of Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia and help was forthcoming.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman promised $3 billion in aid, Tisdall reported, while the powerful Emirati crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, vowed to help “preserve Sudan’s security and stability”.

Al-Sisi, who publicly pledged to honor the “will of the Sudanese people”, is believed to playing both sides of the struggle, seeing Egyptian interests in the Nile water disputes as a possible outcome for backing the generals.

Egypt has already given the Sudanese junta significant assistance. The African Union, which Egypt currently chairs, set a 15-day deadline for the military to hand over power when Bashir fell. The deadline was extended to three months, however, when al-Sisi intervened.

While some in Sudan’s pro-democracy movement had anticipated foreign meddling, the brutality of the attack leveled at civilians with tear gas and live rounds of ammunition were shocking.

“This is a critical point in our revolution. The military council has chosen escalation and confrontation … Now the situation is us or them; there is no other way,” said Mohammed Yousef al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has spearheaded the protests.

Meanwhile Washington, while publicly urging dialogue, has shown little interest in supporting Sudan’s democratic renaissance.

Similarly, Britain, the former colonial power, appears uncaring and unengaged.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, one of the main pro-reform groups, has called on Sudanese people to take part in “total civil disobedience” to topple the military council and for people for take to the streets to protest.

Amnesty International has called on the UN Security Council to consider imposing sanctions on members of the Transitional Military Council (TMC).

The TMC “has completely destroyed the trust of the Sudanese people and crushed the people’s hope for a new era of respect for human rights and respect for the right to protest without fear,” they said.

Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, condemned violence and reports of excessive use of force by Sudanese security forces on civilians. He urged all parties “to act with utmost restraint”.

And on Twitter, a tweet signed Mehairy J. Blige read: “We are trying to overthrow one government but instead we are facing four. Our own and the gulf “allies” funding and organizing these massacres.”

Newswire: Leah Chase, legendary ‘Queen of Creole Cuisine’ and Civil Rights icon dies at 96

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Leah Chase


Known as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” Leah Chase carved out quite the niche in and around New Orleans for more than six decades.
During that time, she fed individuals like Quincy Jones, Jesse Jackson, Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, James Baldwin, Ray Charles, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and countless others as Executive Chef of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant — one of the best-known and most culturally significant restaurants in New Orleans.
“If your soul is in New Orleans, I know what to give you,” Chase once said in response to being asked if she served soul food.
“I’m going to give you some jambalaya. I can give you some stewed chicken. I can give you some shrimp Creole,” she said.
The renowned cook and freedom fighter, Chase died on Saturday, June 1. She was 96.
“Her daily joy was not simply cooking but preparing meals to bring people together. One of her most prized contributions was advocating for the Civil Rights Movement through feeding those on the front lines of the struggle for human dignity,” Chase’s family said in a statement announcing her death.
“She saw her role and that of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant to serve as a vehicle for social change during a difficult time in our country’s history,” the family said.
Born on January 6, 1923 in New Orleans, Chase was one of 14 children. She was raised in the small town of Madisonville, Louisiana.
There were no high schools for black children, so after sixth grade, Chase moved to New Orleans to live with an aunt, according to her official biography.
After completing high school, Chase had a colorful work history including managing two amateur boxers and becoming the first woman to mark the racehorse board for a local bookie.
Her favorite job, though, was waiting tables in the French Quarter. It was there that she developed her love for food and feeding others.
In 1946, she married local musician Edgar “Dooky” Chase Jr., whose father had opened a street corner stand selling lottery tickets and his wife’s homemade po’boy sandwiches.
Eventually, Leah and Dooky Jr. took over the business, which by then had become a sit-down restaurant and a favorite local gathering place.
In a town deeply divided by segregation, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant was one of the only public places in New Orleans where mixed race groups could meet to discuss strategy for the local Civil Rights Movement.
Although such gatherings were illegal through most of the 1960s, Dooky Chase’s was so popular; it would have caused a public uproar if local law enforcement had interrupted the meetings.
Black voter registration campaign organizers, the NAACP, backdoor political meetings and countless others often found a home at Dooky Chase’s, and Leah cooked for them all, her biography noted.
Chase was also a patron of black art and her collection — displayed on the walls of her restaurant — was at one time considered New Orleans’ best collection of African American art.
Her cookbooks, including “The Dooky Chase Cookbook,” “And Still I Cook,” and “Leah Chase: Listen, I Say Like This,” are popular and have received great praise among her most famous colleagues.
“Leah Chase was a legend, an icon and an inspiration,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. “It is impossible to overstate what she meant to our City and to our community. At Dooky Chase’s Restaurant: she made creole cuisine the cultural force that it is today,” Cantrell said.
Chase fed Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights Movement and she fed James Meredith and put him up the night before he integrated the University of Mississippi, said Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“She provided a space for whites and Blacks to strategize when other restaurants wouldn’t,” Clarke said.

Newswire: $1.5 million granted to a man who served 45 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit

By BlackmansStreet.Today

Richard Phillips
     The state of Michigan has awarded $1.5 million to Richard Phillips who was locked up in prison for 45 years for a murder he didn’t commit.
     The $1.5 million seems like a lot of money, and it is, but Phillips couldn’t work a job that would have enabled him to earn a salary, a pension and Social Security Benefits because he was in prison.
     Men and women cannot receive Social Security unless they earned at least 40 credits for 10 years of work, a  spokesman for the Social Security Administration told me in 2015.“Social Security does not have a program that compensates wrongfully convicted individuals with no work history,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

     Phillips may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, which pays a modest monthly benefit to people who don’t have any income. He earns some money selling paintings he drew in prison.
     A Go Fund Me Page has been established to help Phillips.
     Phillips, who is now 73, was sentenced to prison when he was 26 years old in 1971.

     His conviction was overturned in 2017 when another man confessed to the murder. University of Michigan law students learned about the man’s confession and went to court.

     Meanwhile, the cops and prosecutors who convicted him are now retired and collecting their pensions.

    Phillips served more time in prison than any other wrongfully convicted man. After being released from prison, Phillips said he would like to see members of family who has not seen in decades.

Newswire: Black man kills colleagues in a workplace shooting; it is the second deadly workplace shooting by a black man since February

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

DeWayne Craddock

The mass shooting in Virginia in which an African-American engineer killed 12 people, including 11 of his colleagues and a contractor, before being shot to death in a gun battle with police is the second deadly workplace shooting since February by a Black man.

     Other than the common denominator that both gunmen were Black, the circumstances couldn’t be more different.

     DeWayne Antonio Craddock, 40, walked into the Virginia Beach, Virginia, municipal building on Friday where he worked, and nothing seemed amiss. He told some of his co-workers to have a beautiful day before pulling out a .45 caliber pistol, fitted with a suppressor known as a silencer.

Armed with two pistols, he raced throughout the building, shooting some and walking away from others.

     Craddock worked for Virginia Beach 15 years. He had a pristine work record. However, he resigned by email the morning of the deadly shootings without giving a reason.

It remains a mystery what set off Craddock.

     This is unlike the fatal shooting that occurred in February in Aurora, Illinois, near Chicago, where Gary Martin,45,who had been fired from his job as a large valve assembler for the Henry Pratt Co., shot to the death five of his former colleagues before police killed him in a shootout.

     The company fired Martin for various workplace rule violations, said Sean Hall, CEO of Mueller Water Products, a Henry Pratt subsidiary.

     Martin, a 15-year Henry Pratt employee, was depressed because he had lost his job, his sister, Tameka Martin, told the New York Times. He was armed with a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol with a laser sight.

     Job loss causes depression and anxiety because of a lack of money. For Black men, it can be even worse because the unemployment rate is much higher for us compared with other racial and ethnic groups, the U.S. Bureau of the Labor Statistics reports.

Newswire : Ava DuVernay’s Central Park Five Documentary debuts on Netflix

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent@StacyBrownMedia

Scene from ‘Central Park Five’


The morning after Ava DuVernay’s four-part Netflix miniseries about the Central Park Five, “When They See Us,” premiered at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, she was in a daze. “I don’t drink, and I don’t do any other kinds of substances,” she told Rolling Stone, “but I think I have a hangover.”
She had the headache, but also the hazy memory of the community she’d felt the previous night, screening her labor of love in the neighborhood that raised the five teenagers wrongfully convicted of brutally raping jogger Trisha Meili on April 19, 1989.
It was a whirlwind of fellowship that involved “a lot of smiles, hugs, and a lot of tears,” DuVernay said.
“When They See Us,” debuts on Netflix on Friday, May 31.
The true and gripping tale of five boys of color between the ages of 14 and 16 who were forced to falsely confess to the rape of a white woman in New York’s Central Park, has received critical acclaim with reviewers noting that it’s “impassioned,” and “moving.”
One critic said it’s “must-see TV.”
We already have a category of movies that we expect to artfully, if painfully edify – think of 12 Years a Slave, or Schindler’s List – but we’re not acculturated to it on television, said Willa Paskin of Slate Magazine.
On April 19, 1989, the lives of Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise changed forever.
News media described them as “a wolf pack,” and “animals,” and then-citizen Donald Trump took out a full-page ad in four New York City area newspapers attacking the youth and calling for the return of the death penalty.
Decades after they’d been exonerated, Trump still has refused to rescind his damning words against the men and he even denounced a multi-million civil settlement reached between New York City and the five men.
“Trump was the fire starter,” Salaam said. “Common citizens were being manipulated and swayed into believing that we were guilty.”
The police-coerced confessions were the only evidence against them, but racism made the boys convenient scapegoats and metaphors for all that had gone wrong in a stratified, corrupt, crime-ridden, rape-infested, and fearful New York City, according to Slate.
DuVernay, who took on the project after Santana suggested it to her via tweet, wants to dramatize what the criminal justice system and New York City stole from these innocent teenagers.
The series begins on the day of the rape. Antron (Caleel Harris and, as an adult, Jovan Adepo), Raymond (Marquis Rodriguez and Freddy Miyares), Kevin (Asante Blackk and Justin Cunningham) , Yusef (Ethan Herisse and Chris Chalk), and Korey (Jharrel Jerome) are going about their regular lives: talking about the Yankees with a father and dreaming of becoming a shortstop; kissing a girlfriend; lugging an instrument around after school.
Though they don’t know each other particularly well, they all wind up in a group of about 25 boys who head into the park that night, where some goof around, while others harass bikers or a homeless guy.
The police descend, arresting a handful of them, but the cops don’t consider any of them suspects in anything particularly serious.
That changes after the rape victim is discovered in the early hours of the morning and Assistant District Attorney Linda Fairstein decides the boys’ presence in the park that night can’t be a coincidence.
Despite there being no physical evidence that the boys were involved, the police set out to make the facts fit the theory of the case. They start trying to get confessions and names, which they use to pick up additional suspects.
Korey Wise, whose name is not on the police’s list, goes down to the precinct with Yusef just to be a good friend. He won’t leave police custody for more than a decade.
For his act of kindness, he will spend years at Rikers Island awaiting trial and then 13 years in an adult prison, the only one of the five who was 16 and so sentenced as an adult.
When Rolling Stone noted that this story had never been told from the perspective of the five men, DuVernay said she started just speaking with the men first.
“That was my first way in. And from there I folded in all of the court transcripts, different records and files that we were able to get a hold of through public means or private transfer,” DuVernay said.
“We then read every single stitch of press coverage to really get an understanding of the ways in which this was being reported, to understand the propaganda around this case. You know, there was a study done that 89 percent of the articles that were written at the time, by the New York papers, didn’t even use the word ‘alleged,’” DuVernay said.
She continued:
“I also talked with academics to get underneath the state of New York City at the time. What were the political motivations?
“But it always came back to the men and then their families. Over a four-year period, it was just exhaustive. Interviews, but sometimes just spending time. Lunches, dinners, just getting to know them. Sometimes it’s the little things more than just the core stories.”

Eutaw City Council postpones decision on new fire truck

Police Chief Derrick Coleman with
new officer William Walker

The Eutaw City Council postponed action at the Tuesday May 28 regular meeting on applying for CDBG funding to purchase a new fire truck for the city.
The acquisition of a new fire truck has been the subject of the past two meetings of the City Council. Fire Chief Benny Abrams, who also represents District 5 on the City Council, said that the city had only one fully functional fire engine and was in need of another.
At the May 14 City Council meeting, the Mayor proposed applying to ADECA for $350,000 of competitive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to purchase a new fire truck. At the work session on May 21, Cory Johnson, with West Alabama Planning and Development Commission (WAPDC) explained that ADECA had several funds and that the most appropriate one was the ADECA Enhancement Fund that provides funding for up to $250,000 specifically for fire trucks.The City would have to provide matching funds for the remaining cost of the fire truck, above $250,000, and some administrative fees ($20,000) for WAPDC. Some of the Council members voiced their continuing concern with approving projects that require matching funds, without a city financial report and budget, which would help them to determine if they could afford major capital expenses.
The Eutaw City Council postponed action on approving the grant request for the fire truck at the request of Benny Abrams. No explanations of the reasons for the postponement were given in the meeting. After the meeting, Mayor Steele said, “Chief Abrams was concerned about the significant reduction in the available grant funds and the need to explore other funding sources as well.”
The Council approved spending $4,250 for a digital SCADA Control and Acquisition System for the Well No. 3 and the landfill water tanks. This system will allow the tanks to communicate and report problems with the water system to the operators to detect leaks in the system and save money in the operation of the system. Stone and Sons Electrical Contractors will be doing the installation work. Eventually the system will need to be expanded to all water tanks in the city system.
The Council approved a salary of $500 a month for Attorney Joshua Swords to serve as City Judge.
The City Council discussed seeking bids to repair roads in King Village. Mayor Steele said he did not agree with a major repaving of the roads in King Village since they were not as damaged as the roads in Branch Heights. The Mayor suggested patching the roads in King Village at this time. This led to a larger discussion of the funds used to pave roads in Branch Heights and how this related to the Sheriff setting aside bingo funds for paving Branch Heights roads. The Council agreed to suspend paving of King Village until a meeting could be scheduled with the Sheriff to discuss the earmarked bingo funds.
There was a discussion of authorized signatures on Certificates of Deposit and a Safety Deposit Box for the city. The Council has already moved to remove the Mayor as a signatory on most city accounts. Mayor Steele said this action was “unprecedented and hampered his ability to do the day-to-day business of the city. The Council said they had to take action to prevent the Mayor from making decisions that involved spending money without the Council’s approval and support. There was a tie vote and no action was taken.
On another controversial issue which separates the Mayor and the council, on a 4 to 1 vote, the council approved publication of an ordinance that deals with declaring the shed at the National Guard Armory surplus and vacant so it can be rented to other interested parties. The Mayor says the shed is in use for storing city materials, including Christmas lights and other supplies.
The Council approved travel for the Chief of Police and Assistant Chief to attend the Alabama Association of Chiefs of Police Summer Conference in Orange Beach.
Police Chief Derrick Coleman introduced new police officer, William Walker of Northport, who will be attending the State Police Academy in August and joining the Eutaw city police force.