“There is a great need in our city for a code enforcement officer, which is vital for us to move forward,” commented councilman Larry Brown at the council's regular session last week.
Brown stated that it is a position that is budgeted in the city finances but action is yet to be taken.
“Volunteers are currently awaiting the opportunity to help tear down these broken down buildings and homes but it takes a code enforcer to make sure that everything is done right,” said Brown.
Currently there is not an active code enforcement officer in the city. Former code enforcement officer Patrick Allen has requested a $28,000 salary, a $2,000 increase from what he was making previously.
“We're losing more than $2,000 a year without this service,” stated Brown.
Councilman Jay Hollowell reviewed the motion made by the council at the July 9 council meeting and stated that the original vote was implemented to support the rehiring of Allen.
“We don't have the power to hire but we voiced our support in a motion to hire Patrick,” stated Hollowell.
Brown asked where the city stands regarding the code enforcement issue and why action hasn't been taken.
“We are currently in the process of interviewing some possible candidates now,” reported Mayor Arnell Willis.
Brown asked if the candidates are qualified for the position and Councilwoman Wanda Crockett questioned whether or not they would have to be trained.
“We're going to hire someone who is capable of getting the job done,” stated Willis.
Crockett asked if the city advertised for the position. Mayor Willis stated that he refused to increase the code enforcement salary to $2,000 more than what Allen had resign.
“I was not making $26,000 when I resigned, I was making under $21,000 due to my part-time status in which I could not work over 32 hours. It was not enough to support my family,” explained Alan.
Allen explained that he offered to come back part time initially until the city hired a replacement officer but was denied.
“All I'm asking for is that you match my current income, not exceed it,” he said.
Councilman John Huff questioned who is driving the code enforcement truck around town if the city doesn't have an officer in place.
“I have seen the truck in several places,” added Huff.
Huff asked Willis whether he was willing to work with the council to move this city forward and bring Alan back.
“We need a code enforcement officer,” commented Huff.
Mayor Willis went on record again stating that he would hire Allen at $26,000 and not $28,000 as he is requesting.
Councilman Don Etherly asked why Willis was “making such a big deal” over $2,000 when the department can generate money that the city needs.
Page 2 of 2 - “A city of our size should not be without a code enforcement officer,” said Willis. “We should be embarrassed that we don't have one in place and we have someone here that is trained and familiar with the policies and procedure.”
Mayor Willis stated that it was nothing personal against Allen, but avoided the question as to whether or not his decision was based on Allen's work performance.
“The real deal is Mr. Allen is going to do his job, he's a Christian man, and he's not going to take the threats that the mayor is putting out there,” said Huff.
Crockett repeated her question directed at the mayor as to whether or not the city is going to have to pay for the training for the individual that is hired. Willis replied that they are going to hire somebody that can do the job. Willis added that training is an on going process in any position, code enforcement included.
“Just work with us, this one time,” commented councilman Christopher Franklin.
Allen stated that numerous individuals from the community, elected officials, and business owners contacted him asking him to come back to work.
“I told them no, that the mayor doesn't like me and that's why I had to leave,” he said. “The reason I am here is because I have been asked to come back by the community. But I have to be able to provide for my family.”