Possible Progress Made With Adoption of City of Minden Budget

Written by on October 15, 2021

A meeting with Minden Mayor, Terry Gardner, City Councilman (A) Wayne Edwards, and Acting City Clerk, Michael Fluhr on October 12th gives hope that there might finally be some progress made to adopting the City of Minden budget for 2021/22.

The meeting was set in motion by Fluhr, who invited Councilmen Wayne Edwards, Vincen Bradford and Councilwoman Terika Walker, as well as Minden Mayor Terry Gardner. Bradford did not reply by phone or by email and Walker declined to meet, according to the information provided.

According to notes of the meeting, provided to the council and media by Mayor Gardner (see full attachment here), Councilman Edward listed three main areas of concern between the Mayor and the Council. It was noted that Edwards was only speaking for himself and not Councilwoman Walker and Councilman Bradford, who are also in opposition to the budget as presented.

The three areas of concern were:

  • Communication between the Council and Mayor: Edwards stated that he would like a commitment from the Mayor publicly to have a “better and more informative relationship” that would keep the Council informed as opposed to an “open door” policy.
  • Council input in compensation issues above the limitations regulated by the Employee Manual: Edwards said that in addition to the Employee Manual regulations regarding pay raises, he would like to see the hiring process for Department Heads and higher specifically require Council participation.
  • Pay Raise for the Human Resources Manager: Edwards stated that he would be in approval of a $3,000 pay raise on the anniversary date of the employee, which follows Employee Manual guidelines at the maximum percentage of 6%. Edwards also said he would commit to a Council review of compensation that is specific to the Human Resources office, possibly raising starting salary to the the level which was agreed to between the Mayor and the HR Manager. Edwards in the meeting acknowledged that the starting salary is not in accordance with current business standards.

In the email response from Mayor Gardner that followed the notes of the meeting, he made several possible changes.

“A.  I will still send out emails, texts and flyers and anything else that comes across my desk to keep the council informed.  I have made sure that each of you are on the mailing list and emails of the  Chamber, Minden Press and Webster Journal to receive everything that I do,  Hopefully now with everyone being in the loop…everyone can attend ribbon cuttings, fundraiser’s parades etc….and as always you are welcome to call, text, email or stop by city hall….

B.  We will take a hard look at compensation issues as address by the employee manual and suggest revisions as needed….When adopted I will stay within the guidelines set forth
C.  I feel that my hands are tied concerning her salary, I have consulted with the city attorney requiring any legal ramification and have attached his response.
Moving forward, I will stay within the 2% to 6%  guide lines for future pay raises
This is my commitment to remedy the concerns address by councilman Edwards during his meeting with Michael Fluhr and myself.; Hopefully we can get past all of this, approve a budget and continue to move Minden Forward.”
Also attached was a copy of a letter from City Attorney, Jimbo Yocom, who gave his legal opinion concerning possible legal action regarding pay raises or changes in the pay raises promised by Gardner. According to Yocom, the compromise in part C of Gardner’s email response would still leave the city open to litigation because of a breach of contract.
While questions still remain, there is still hope that the City Council can soon adopt the 2021/22 budget. The next scheduled City Council meeting is set for 5:30 PM on Monday, November 1st at Minden City Hall.


Current track