New garbage rates, town manager pay, and lack of town manager accessibility discussed at Greensboro Town Council

The Greensboro town council met on Monday, December 12 at 7 p.m. at Gardner Hall for the final monthly meeting of the year.

Following the approval of the minutes for the November monthly meeting and the paying of the town bills, the council briefly touched upon two recurring issues that have come up in recent meetings.

For the last several months, Sarah Markum, the manager for the local AMI gas station, has been trying to get approval for a storage shed to be built on the AMI property located on the corner of Green Avenue and Selman Street.

Markum originally appeared before the council in August, when she was advised that she would need to submit an application before the council could become involved.

Markum addressed the council again in September, stating that she was having difficulty locating the proper application.

In the November monthly meeting, Markum appeared before the council to complain that she still had not received the proper application from the town manager, who suggested she check her email, which she was unable to do at the time due to poor cell service in the vicinity of Gardner Hall.

The ongoing issue was brought up again at the December meeting by Council Member Michael Pitts, who asked about the status of the request made by Markum, who was not present at the meeting. 

Mayor Lamar Alday said that, as he understood it, the application was emailed to the owners of the property, not Markum herself, which Council President Bill Willis remarked was the correct way for the issue to be handled.

Next, Town Attorney David Weiss was asked if he had reviewed and made clarifications to Town Manager Dennis Henderson’s employment contract, as discussed with the council last month.

Weiss replied that he and the Town Manager have reviewed the contract together and discussed possible revisions.

Because Town Manager Henderson’s current contract is effective until October 2023, Weiss recommended waiting until closer to the contract renewal date to bring any proposed changes to the council, rather than making changes midway through a term.

Next, the council heard from Town Manager Henderson on garbage rates.

Henderson stated that he has not yet received the new rates, which are tied to the consumer price index.

Henderson also said the rates would be higher this time due to inflation, and also remarked that the past standard has been to charge $1 above what the town is charged, and that his recommendation would be for the council to approve doing the same thing again this year.

It was determined that no vote was necessary for approval on this issue, and no one on the council objected, so approval was granted to proceed as recommended.

Following the Town Manager’s report, Council President Willis asked if any council member had any other issues they wished to raise.

Council Member Kim Boyer then stated that she had been reviewing time cards submitted by Town Manager Henderson and had some questions.

This was in regard to an issue that was discussed by the council during the October monthly meeting, which was the remuneration of the town manager for hours worked beyond the contracted 30 hours per week over the past two years.

Boyer was concerned that, since January 1 of 2022, the biweekly time cards showed 66 hours on the front, with extra time written on the back.

Henderson responded that the time on the front represented the base 30 hours per week, any time on the back reflected time he worked above those 30 hours.

Council Member Boyer then said that she thought the council had requested that no more overtime be granted. 

Council President Willis stated that it seemed to him that Henderson did a lot of other things beyond the 30 weekly hours specified in the employment contract.

Boyer responded that it seemed that they were paying a lot of overtime when the contract said only 30 hours per week, asking if that time should first be approved.

Henderson said that, as his responsibilities as town manager have expanded, it has been necessary for him to work longer hours than what was originally stated in his employment contract with the town.  

Boyer said she completely understood that Henderson needed to be flexible, but repeated that the town was paying a lot of money in overtime, and she was concerned that that money would greatly exceed what was budgeted for paying Greensboro’s town manager.

Boyer also suggested a possible cap on the amount of overtime that could be accrued.

Council Member Libby Henderson suggested that this was an issue that should be explored when the town council reviews the revised contract when presented by Town Attorney Weiss.

Weiss agreed with this suggestion, recommending that the current contract should be honored as originally agreed, unless both parties agree to a change.

Boyer then brought up another concern she had, that Town Manager Henderson was working remotely instead of in the office provided for him by the town.

Henderson stated that he preferred working from home, where there were no interruptions and he could get more work done, mentioning that he lived only three minutes away from the office in question, and that his work took him all over town.

Boyer replied that that defeated the purpose of the office, and that Henderson needed to be more accessible to the town, and Mayor Alday agreed, saying that he thought after January 1, Henderson needed to return to his office.

“That’s the Town Manager’s office,” said Alday. “Not your house.” 

Following this discussion, President Willis then reminded everyone that the election for Council President would be in January, a position he would not be running for.

 Stephen Klein – Gadsden County News Service


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