Employee Manual Continues to be Hot Topic with Minden Council
Written by Mark Chreene on February 12, 2020
While the long-awaited Alcohol ordinance was finally addressed after being approved by voters last November, the Employee Manual continued to be the big hang up among the Minden City Council at Tuesday night’s special meeting. The calling of the meeting was to approve the alcohol ordinance, which has been the subject of several Council workshops over the past 3 months. With the language in the ordinance set, the council approved the ordinance unanimously.
The council also approved a personnel hire. Christopher Cayer was hired as a Police Officer for the Minden Police Department. Police Chief Steve Cropper noted that Cayer was already POST certified and would be ready to go to work on day one.
The council voted to table a budget amendment for 2019-2020 budget for Airport runway rehab project. The increase reflected a change in the work order by $500,000. It was noted by Airport Manager Steven Burdeaux that the amended amount would not be spent in this year’s budget, but had to be shown as approved for the project to be advertised for bids. Burdeaux said that the amount spent would actually be in the 2020/2021 budget, but would be completely reimbursed by the FAA, so the money was not really out of pocket for the city. Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker and Vincen Bradford both expressed issues with voting on the item after only seeing it in their packet for the meeting. Walker said that she wanted to discuss the item in a council workshop before moving forward with a vote. Councilman Herbert Taylor asked where specifically would city funds be drawn from, if approved. City Clerk, Michael Fluhr noted that the funds would come from the city’s General Fund; however, those funds are only spent as each part of the project is completed, not all at once. Fluhr also noted that the funds would be reimbursed to the General Fund as the invoices were turned in to the FAA. The motion was made by Pam Bloxom to approve the budget amendments and seconded by Keith Beard. A substitute motion to table the amendment to the March council meeting was made by Councilman Herbert Taylor and seconded by Vincen Bradford. That motion was approved by a 3-2 margin, with Taylor, Walker and Bradford voting for and Bloxom and Beard voting against.
In what has become a common occurrence, a heated discussion surrounded the final item on the council agenda Tuesday night, the issue of the Employee manual. A motion was made by Pam Bloxom to have the City of Minden engage the services of Neil Erwin Law to review, update, and make recommendations concerning the employee manual. Councilman Keith Beard seconded the motion. However, before any discussion could take place on the motion, a substitute motion was made by Councilman Herbert Taylor to place a hiring freeze for the City of Minden until the employee manual issues were resolved. A lengthy discussion between Taylor and Mayor Terry Gardner then ensued over the substitute motion. Gardner then brought the original motion to vote, not recognizing the substitute motion as valid, and Beard and Bloxom voted for. However, it wasn’t clear that Bradford, Walker or Taylor voted on the motion, as they were still arguing the point of the substitute motion. Gardner then declared the meeting adjourned, though the issue of the Employee handbook vote is still in question and a solution to the months-long discussion amongst the council doesn’t appear to be any clearer after the meeting Tuesday night.
The next regular scheduled meeting of the Minden City Council is Monday, March 2nd.