Community awaits Eutaw decision on hearing held for police officers

On Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, Eutaw Mayor Hattie Edwards and the City Council held a closed personnel hearing reportedly for three Eutaw police officers who had been placed on administrative leave. At the close of the hearing, the outcome was not announced. It is expected that at the next regularly scheduled city council meeting on Tuesday, October 25, the public will be be given more information regarding the hearing and subsequent decisions.
In an attempt to ascertain who has hiring and firing authority in city government, the Greene County Democrat staff researched recent municipal cases on this issue which resulted in Supreme Court decisions.
The Alabama Supreme Court has issued various case rulings confirming that, in Alabama, mayors alone have the power to hire and fire municipal employees. In 2009 the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Fairfield Mayor Kenneth Coachman, who had sued five members of the city council after they voted in favor of an ordinance that would have stripped the mayor of appointing authority. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Dan King ruled that, according to state law, the authority rested with the mayor. The Supreme Court upheld King’s decision.
In similar cases steaming from the 2009 decision, the Alabama Supreme Court issued rulings against the city councils of Fairhope and Daphne when they passed ordinances removing their mayors’ power over personnel matters and giving it to themselves. The Supreme Court forced the city councils to undo the ordinances.
At press time, the Democrat was unable to reach the city attorney to corroborate the process and procedures involved in hiring and firing practices in Eutaw Municipal Government.

Eutaw City Council approves resolution on use of National Guard Armory

Chief & Sumlin

Chief Coleman and Drug Task Force Commander, Clint Sumlin 


At its regular meeting on April 26, 2016, the Eutaw City Council approved a resolution clarifying the procedure for waiving or reducing the usage fee for the City’s National Guard Armory on Mesopotamia Street by non-profit organizations.
Currently the fee is $250 for a meeting or social event. The amount is higher for activities that are raising funds. The new resolution clarifies that to receive reduced cost or a waiver, a group or organization, must submit an application for a fee waiver or reduction. The applying group must attach a copy of their IRS 501(c) 3 charitable status; and be an “organization, group or individual who have a history of providing material items to the community, such as food, clothing, health care and the like”; or, a funeral repast for local residents. “The City is willing to reduce the fee for qualified community groups that will benefit residents of the City of Eutaw, but we are now, as of the adoption of this resolution, keeping files and records to make sure that the facility is used properly,” said Mayor Hattie Edwards.
The Mayor announced that the ALDOT project to resurface Prairie Avenue from the Courthouse Square to Highway 43 is proceeding according to plans and $750 was spent on a permit to cross the Norfolk-Southern Railroad tracks that cross Prairie Avenue.
The project is scheduled to be bid and constructed over the next few months.
Police Chief Derrick Coleman introduced Clint Sumlin, who is Area Commander for the area’s Criminal Drug Task Force. Sumlin spoke about the work of the Task Force in interdicting the drug trade in and around our area. “The Task Force invites local law enforcement officers to ride with them and participate in activities as part of our training efforts. We do not provide insurance for the officers, who are volunteering, but we expect their home base department will help with this,” said Sumlin. He said the Drug Task Force was needed and would help keep everyone safer.
Theresa Beeker addressed the City Council about organizing volunteers to help keep the City Park and tennis court in town, next to the Episcopal Church, clean so children and their parents can use it. She suggested that each council-member organize people in their district to clean and patrol the park one week a month, on a rotating basis. Mayor Edwards said that they would take this under consideration at a future meeting.
Carl Davis asked the police to help residents in Branch Heights to stop young people from shooting each other and into vehicles and homes. “These young people know that they cannot be held in the adult jail so they are shooting guns and provoking the police. We need to work with them and their parents to stop the violence,” said Davis.