Alderman Tommy Hunt says he witnessed two Helena-West Helena employees using city equipment last Thursday to dig a trench at a West Helena residence and plans to remind Mayor James Valley at the July 6 council meeting that the city is "not in the contracting business."

 

Alderman Tommy Hunt says he witnessed two Helena-West Helena employees using city equipment last Thursday to dig a trench at a West Helena residence and plans to remind Mayor James Valley at the July 6 council meeting that the city is "not in the contracting business."
  Hunt said Calvin Smith and Chad Davis, mechanics in the West Helena shops, deployed a Track Hoe and other equipment last Thursday to dig a trench from the curb and down one side of a residence in the 600 block of Cook Street about 9:30 a.m.
   Hunt said when he inquired about the work they were doing, Smith and Davis said "the boss sent us there." Hunt said they identify "the boss' as being Mayor Valley.
  Hunt said he discovered the two employees working while he was mowing a yard in the area.
  Hunt said also he saw John Huff, a street department supervisor, in the vicinity of the residence.
   "I saw John Huff driving one way as I was driving the other direction," Hunt said.
  Hunt and Huff are scheduled to appear in Helena District Court July 8. Hunt has charged Huff with a harassment, terroristic threatening and disorderly stemming from a confrontation between the two on April 27. Huff has a countercharge of disorderly conduct against Hunt.
  Hunt said he called Oscar Hoskins, the street department director, who claimed he knew nothing about the trench work.
  Hunt contacted Victor Jordan, a supervisor who answers directly to Hoskins, who said while he knew nothing about the trench work that the city contracts for private jobs at a cost of $77 an hour.
  Hunt said city employees should be "working in the city cleaning out ditches and alleys and doing street work."
  Hunt also stated that he and other aldermen would like to see documented payment for private contract work.