City of Buchanan

Minutes

CITY OF BUCHANAN

MINUTES OF COUNCIL MEETING

March 13, 2012

Attendance:  Mayor:  Benjamin Biggers.

Council Members:  Patricia Warren, Kenny Hughes, Jarred Taylor, Patty Hutcheson.

Department Heads: City Clerk Karen King, Public Works Director Dean Tanner, Police Chief Tracy Lambert.

Mayor Biggers: called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

Mayor Biggers welcomed everyone.

Mayor Biggers asks Henry Bedford to lead Pledge of Allegiance.

Mayor Biggers gives invocation.

Mayor Biggers asks to accept the agenda for tonight with changes (public hearing will follow approval of minutes), next item will be (Brian Bojo, GMEBS), next item will be (Janie Holder), Library update cancelled, next item will be (Sara Anderson), next item will be (Public Participation).  Jarred Taylor made a motion to accept the agenda with changes (public hearing will follow approval of minutes), next item will be (Brian Bojo, GMEBS), next item will be (Janie Holder), Library update cancelled, next item will be (Sara Anderson), next item will be (Public Participation).   Kenny Hughes seconded the motion.  Motion carried 4-0.

Mayor Biggers asks to accept the minutes from Council meeting and February 13, 2012 meeting.  Patricia Warren made a motion to accept the minutes from Called and Council meeting.   Jarred Taylor seconded the motion.  Motion carried 4-0.

Public Hearing: (CDBG Grant)

Public Works Director Dean Tanner opens floor for hearing.  Mary Ann Wood (Administrator, County Side Health Center) explains that they have to deal with not only low water pressure but also muddy water.  Jay Westmoreland explains low water pressure and muddy water is troublesome to laundry.  Cindy Ford explains safe water is imperative to schools system.  Public Works Director Dean Tanner asks if any one present has anything further to add.

Mayor Biggers reads resolution to provide clean and potable water to citizens of the City of Buchanan thereby applying for a CDBG Grant to assist with installation of needed water lines in City of Buchanan.  

Council discusses where the matching funds for the CDBG Grant will come from.  

Mayor Biggers asks to for a motion to adopt resolution allowing Public Works Director Dean Tanner to apply for CDBG Grant.  Patricia Warren abstains from vote because she lives on one of the target streets for the CDBG Grant.  Patty Hutcheson made a motion to allow Public Works Director Dean Tanner to apply for CDBG Grant.   Jarred Taylor seconded the motion.  Motion carried 3-0.

Brian Bojo (GMEBS) 

Explains to mayor and council that the retirement has been updated but the changes that were made to the master plan will not affect the plan.  

Mayor Biggers asks for motion to adopt resolution for and retirement contract with GMEBS.  Patricia Warren made a motion to adopt resolution for and retirement contract with GMEBS.   Patty Hutcheson seconded the motion.  Motion carried 4-0. 

Sara Anderson (Solutions)

Explains that May is mental awareness month and they will be organizing a 5K walk and run to add to Buchanan Spring Festival to raise mental issues awareness and hopefully raise money to help people who a seeking mental help or substance abuse help that cannot afford it she is here today to ask permission and support from City of Buchanan.

Mayor and council give permission and seal their approval with a vote.

Mayor Biggers asks to give permission to Solutions for a 5K walk and run at Buchanan Spring Festival.  Kenny Hughes made a motion to give permission to Solutions for a 5K walk and run at Buchanan Spring Festival.   Jarred Taylor seconded the motion.  Motion carried 4-0.

Janie Holder (Better Hometown Manager)  

Gives mayor and council documents and explains Chamber tourism points of interest around Haralson County.  Explains Better Hometown is still working on strategic planning.  Buchanan Spring Festival will be May 19, 2012 and she encourages everybody to have a float in the parade.  

Donnie Rainey (Rainey & Sons)

Tells mayor and council that he was here when the table they are setting at was his table he bought that for council meeting a long time ago.  Asks mayor and council for more time to be allowed for him to make his points, in all he is asking for 15 minutes.  Mayor and council agree to the 15 minutes.  Asks mayor and council if they feel the council meeting held on February 13, 2012 was held in a parliamentary manner.  Mayor and council agree that it was.  States for audience that he had sent a letter to mayor and council on February 17, 2012 stating his displeasure of how the bidding process was handled the letter did state that he would not come with malice or ill spirit but a genuine concern.  There wasn’t a justification why the lowest and the next lowest bid weren’t considered or accepted, the manner a bidding process is carried out is published, and he feels should be understood, especially new council should understand it is serious.  The proper way to handle bidding processes are in place to keep the city at a high standard, to keep the city from being like now, its him and not someone with a blue jacket serving you with notice, even though there is a possibility that someone could because of the way it was handled.  He feels like not justifying a bid, particularly a lower bid, you cast a dark shadow on that business and on that person, me being one I feel like what took place here may not be understood outside these doors even if it was clear how it took place, to wonder why the decision would be to go over the lowest bid by 20% of what you could have got it done for, at the same time justifying it which I don’t think you did, and also well $800.00 dollars more, Patty you may have mentioned during the meeting that $800.00 is a lot of money, it didn’t go anywhere though.  I watched the dvd it began at 7:42 and a vote was taken at 8:01, that’s 20 minutes upon which time there was people getting up walking around, there was people from the audience walking down to the table while it was in session, because we were called to order and we were using proper parliamentarian procedure, those things are kind of glaring, if you see it sitting from where you are you may not see it, but when you have the full view of the whole thing it comes together to the point where there was some impropriety, and he is not asking why but since he didn’t get a response from his letter he had to be here tonight, it might have been that somebody could have explained to him why, because he had not seen the video or heard audio prior to writing the letter.  Those are the issues and I would like to have a justification as to why I was overlooked and the next bidder was overlooked and then the highest bid was chosen.  If you think I’m crying over not getting the job stop it’s more than that it’s the principle of the thing.  I don’t think you would have made statements prior to getting elected that you wouldn’t hold up true now, words like runaway spending, waste, and accountability those words came out in a statement at a forum the Lions Club had back in October or fall before the election those were good sound bites if something needs looking into it needs looking into but if you are going to practice you need to set by example that’s my thinking, when it came down to it, the thing that broke my heart, it is sad to see business carried on like it was, not tonight things went good, but it was an issue for some reason a 3 minute decision took 20 minutes when the bid had been open 2 weeks prior to that, it just didn’t add up till a gentleman from the back walks down here wonders around for a little while walks over to the table gets Taylors attention in a conversation then he walks back up to the back where the party that was representing the highest bid was sitting turned around and reported something to them not to mention that that party spoke up unrecognized stood up and told you the council that Patty made the statement that $800 was a lot of money she began to pander you and justify why it was ok to spend $800 more because how did it go, my daddy takes a lot of pride in his work, good, he stays on the job does the work, fine, and a couple other things besides the fact that there is a circular floating around with work that they had done that interested more people than the council everybody that was here wanted to see it, completely off track, I didn’t have an opportunity to do that, didn’t know I needed to, the bid criteria that Mr. Tanner presented you was the quote that I turned in to him when Mr. Tanner asked me to give the price to do the job, Mr. Tanner was anything added to or taken away from my list.  Dean Tanner stated the only thing that was taken away was the prices beside each item on the list he erased the prices and made a copy of what was turned in to insure that all were bidding on same work further stating that he meet with all that were to bid.  Council members hopefully this will help you down the road but you have the authority and obligation to take certain steps which protect the integrity of your procurement of the purchase.  If I read that then observe what I saw and interpret what I saw or until you can explain it to me differently then I’m going to say this you failed to guarantee full equal opportunity to all qualified bidders, as a result you spent more money than you had to, totally against what I took to be your goal when you came in and accepted the responsibility of being a council person, is there anyone who would like to respond to anything that I have said at this point, Jarred Taylor states that he would, first Mr. Rainey I would like to apologize if somehow we blacked your eye somehow with your business that wasn’t our intention, as far as my justification for going with who I did, it wasn’t because of any coercion or persuasion of any one or multiple parties, but Mr. Brown was here and had pictures of his work, he was available for questions if we had them, and he showed an interest in getting the bid by showing up for one meeting and sending a representative to the other meeting, that was the basis of my decision and I am sorry if you were under the impression that you didn’t have to be here, we would like you to come to every council meeting if you can, I am still learning and I don’t know everything, I am working on bettering myself through higher learning, if I have offended you in any way I am sorry, but my basis for that was that and that’s why I chose that way. Donnie Rainey states I’m going to tell you Mr. Taylor the criteria of the bid lists what is on it on the bid, it did not list for you to be here present when the bid is open, it did not list to come to council meeting, it did not list you can present pamphlets or papers and make a statement as to why you should consider the bid, to carry on business with the city you have to learn you spell out what it is you are seeking and if you go outside that you are put the other bidders that aren’t here that weren’t afforded the same opportunity at a huge disadvantage, the proper thing to have done would have been to table the vote until all parties were notified and present and have a fair and equal chance to like somebody who decided to come up to the table and speak out of order and participate and approach this table while business is going on is wrong you can’t do that, now if somebody argued with me right now that you can you’ve got your opportunity to speak.  Patty Hutcheson states Mr. Rainey I want to say a couple of things, first of all we don’t have a bidding policy at this city I have asked there is no policy for bids or quotes when you sent the initial one in and Dean Tanner had asked for that it was almost as if this is it here we go and I said well where is the other bids and it was like well I didn’t know we needed anything else so we asked for other bids and after that point I asked what are our policies and I was told we don’t have policies, Kenny Hughes states that we have had the 3 bid policy since he has been in office, Karen King states it was just Humana though nothing on paper, Kenny Hughes states that is something he has asked for when he took office, Patty Hutcheson states that is something we as the council need to bring in, when we looked at all those bids I’ll just tell you I have an ethical problem with someone on the council who voted to remove those trees having a family member then who is going to benefit from replacing those trees and he took himself out of the room or away from the table he did not vote I understand that but he did vote to cut them down and I know you are not saying hey I can benefit from this I understand that you are not that type of person I understand what other people see that the vote was taken to cut them down and then you got to replace them and that didn’t set very well with me it worried me my reason for not choosing garlands gates was that I have seen their work because they did some work not far from here and I wasn’t pleased with it so there was one other option and we did not the bids had been given out we didn’t discuss it per-say I don’t think we did I don’t remember us doing it um but that was something in the back of my mind that I kept thinking ok there is a conflict of interest here and the conflict to me becomes one of this person said were going to take them down and now that persons family is benefitting from that and I don’t know it may be my mind maybe I’m not making all the connections and maybe no one else would have seen that maybe that was just me and that is what I thought I’m just telling you that in my heart is what I saw, I do believe in taking care of the cities money I don’t want to spend money that is not needed, but it shouldn’t have had to be spent to start with, the trees never should have been removed, um the other work that needed to be done I mean the DBR worked hard to make it a nice place down there and I just want to keep it that way, that’s just from my viewpoint and like I said no one else may have made that connection I may be the only one who made that connection but I did especially when the council member left the room it was like well yeah ok.   Donnie Rainey states I don’t want to be disrespectful Patty you are honest in what you said and you did say maybe I can’t connect the dots but if I’m held accountable for something I did not have a part of you can only think I was a part connect with a vote and therefore disqualified from consideration I want to go on record and say I don’t appreciate that I don’t think you really mean what you are saying but you have and you gave me a reason, Patty Hutcheson states Donnie what I’m saying is the perception I’m looking at the perception when we went to the newly elected institute that was what was the one big thing they kept on and on was the perception of what is out there because that is what people come back and see and I understand that you’re saying the perception is that we went with the highest bidder I don’t know why I’m just telling you why and it’s no disrespect to you because I’ve already said that I said I do not believe that I’m looking at perception from the outside and I don’t by no means question you in that area I do not, thank you so much you said you bought this table, Donny Rainey states city bought the table I picked it out.  Patty Hutcheson states I mean you’ve done a lot of work in this room and you know how hard it is to make decisions but I also feel like were you are right there are things we need to work on you are right you are very right.  Donny Rainey states very good maybe I’ve taught you something but Patty you can’t do business worried about that kind of intangible perception when I said that I felt like a shadow was cast on my business and my name simply because it was never stated during the course of the meeting or when it was voted on we can’t go with Rainey & Sons because, we can’t go with Garland Scapes because, the motion was made to award it to Brown’s Landscaping and it had a second and it was 3-0 that meant that I was overlooked you go and you talk about perception go out to the general public and that’s what I’m seeing now, there had to be some reason because they would doubt that you people didn’t do due diligence and follow the criteria and spent $800.00 more, so that’s my perception, maybe I’m wrong and your right, maybe your wrong and I’m right ok, but you know what I feel like saying I think you ought to make up the difference out of your own pocket and reimburse the city, because the perception that I benefit from scheming to get the job I don’t appreciate it thank you Mr. Mayor.

Public Participation:

Mayor Biggers asks Dale Wiggins to come forward.  Presents mayor and council with packets then states I’d like to start and say from about 1975 when I attended the Buchanan Primary School to 1995 when I purchased my first piece of property in Haralson County to right now Buchanan has always been my home and I hope it always will be because I care for this town and the people of our community my son is the 5th generation of my family to live in Haralson County and as I tell you these things tonight and make these requests from you please hear not only my voice but also the voice of the your community, what I would like to do is make a request that the city council open an investigation on these issues under the city charter 2.01 there are 12 items here; (1.) Myself requesting open records from the city and Tracy Lambert showing up at my residence in uniform with a gun giving me back my response, I felt that was way out of line and very intimidating for some reason on his part there are documents attached there and Mr. Lambert was served with criminal trespassing not to come back to my property.  (2.) The pending investigation by the EEOC reference religious and retaliatory discrimination including some documents being signed in Christ in the office and action that I look at as retaliatory and discriminative towards me by Tracy Lambert. (3.) I would have the council to look into how Tracy Lambert handled his own financial affairs for the past two or three years and consider that when trusting him with the City of Buchanan Police Departments budget.  (4.) Tracy Lamberts salary from what I understand is approximately 45 to 47 thousand dollars the bureau of judicial statistics states that for a town of 1000 people the police chief makes a national average of 27 to 31 thousand dollars a year.  (5.) The spending on the fuel that Mr. Lambert uses driving the city car to his residence daily 5 days a week I would imagine I would estimate an annual cost at 10 thousand dollars to the city not including maintenance on the vehicle price of the vehicle.  (6.) Buchanan from what I understand employees 9 police officers at this time the bureau of judicial statistics state that for a town of 1000 people the national average for full time police officers in a town of this size is 2.4 I have an example there of Buchanan’s population of 1032 in a 1.4 square mile area Bremen in comparison has a population of 6226 people in an 8.9 square mile area my question would be why does Buchanan have the same number of uniform police officers on the street daily as a town twice its size it appears to be grossly overspending the tax payers money in my opinion.  (7.) There is also an issue with the city police cars operating for 8 months under Mr. Lambert and the cars were not certified to be running radar and they were running radar for 8 months I would like that looked at as would the community.  (8.) On Highway 120 West at Highway 27 a seat belt sign that displays the percent of seat belt users hasn’t been changed since August of 2011 it’s the city’s responsibility to maintain a survey of seat belt usage every 30 days under the Governor’s office of highway safety.  (9.) There’s been an issue with my background from over 20 years ago it’s been my personal thoughts since I was employed here in January 2005 the council was aware of it when I was hired and from what I’m understanding Mr. Lambert is now using it to discriminate against me in a retaliatory manner and that is a violation of your city charter and federal law.(10.) Also the retaliation and actions taken by Tracy Lambert reference my POST certification Tracy Lambert sending documents to POST in an attempt to damage my career after finding out I was cleared on all allegations of an investigation I have violated no policy of the City of Buchanan. (11.) And I was forced to resign or be terminated for bogus accusations which is a violation of your city charter and there is a State document there to verify that.  (12.) I respectfully ask the council not to allow any more retaliation against myself or my family from Tracy Lambert in reference to any of these matters and I would hope this council would distance themselves from his actions so they may not incriminate themselves.  I would like the council to take all this in serious consideration and again I’m requesting under charter section 2.01 that these items be investigated and let it be known to the community what your findings are.  Kenny Hughes states he has one question in all these you said it’s you and the community that wants to know, other than yourself who in here from the community wants to know these answers.  Several people from the audience speak up and say I want to know. Kenny Hughes states he just wanted to know.  Dale Wiggins states would the council consider this investigation.  Kenny Hughes states anything that is brought to their attention they are going to look into.  Dale Wiggins states that is all he has at this time thank you.  

Department Updates:

Mayor Biggers asks for the department updates:

Public Works Director Dean Tanner: 

If the weather stays pretty he will be getting Tallapoosa Street paved from Highway 27 to right passed Barry Newman’s house, he has not been allocated enough from State to pave the whole street.

Police Chief Tracy Lambert 

First of all I welcome an investigation I welcome and I would suggest you do an investigation.   We have a gentleman who got up here who told you 12 lies had a gentleman up here that if anyone wishes to look at my records or Mr. Wiggins or anybody current or former I have open record requests I’ll show you everything.  Mr. Wiggins did not attend school in this area I did not attend school in this area Mr. Wiggins attended school in Marietta Georgia where he lived for quite some time he brings these issues up.  This is very difficult for me 10 thousand dollars for fuel I never took algebra never took these good things 44 miles round trip is 88 miles a day by 20 mile per gallon multiply 44 times 20 times 5 days is approximately 1600 dollars a year I’ve done the math those may not be the exact numbers I’ve done the math.  The city went when I took over as police chief I worked part time in Tallapoosa PD lay them off lay them off where the citizens of Buchanan will not be protected and we cannot provide other programs to bring this city up to standards of other cities, why do we deserve the best we don’t we do we not deserve the same program as Carrollton Georgia we don’t bear with me please what took over brought in 80 thousand dollars in revenue because we weren’t serving warrants weren’t doing probation correctly people weren’t going to jail people weren’t being held accountable my first year in office we went from 80 thousand to 197 thousand  112 thousand dollars better Karen King now has 50 thousand in an emergency fund and I have 43 thousand in two other funds these are not from getting out here and hammering people these are not from getting out here writing people who aren’t breaking the law these are from your dedicated officers getting out here and doing their job which nobody before I got here did I can back it up I’ve got the numbers I’m tired of it enough is enough I do not live in Buchanan my Daddy worked at Buchanan I’ve had Uncles that were killed in fights in Buchanan I’ve got family buried on Jacksonville Road I’ve got family buried at Holly Springs I don’t live in Buchanan but I care about this community now I care about these people who work for me and if you do your job and you follow a thing called standard operating procedure you don’t have a darn thing to worry about if Buck Wiggins had done his job and followed the SOP he wouldn’t have anything to worry about period it’s that simple I’ll take it to any court in the land I welcome any investigation I welcome FBI, GBI, anybody you want to bring in let’s investigate let’s bring it all on the table buddy let’s lay it all out because I’m sick of this I’m working I feel like it’s a hostile work environment I’ve made that clear several times all I’ve tried to do is the best I can for this department and the city.  Kenny Hughes states can I interrupt you we were in agreement that we were going to do an investigation are we also going to be in agreement that if we do this investigation and it pans out to be good that we are going to stop this cause this is the fifteenth time we’ve had to do this you know the man has worked here two years and we’ve hounded him every month there’s a different person who obviously wants to see him gone and most of them are ex-employees most of them are people who went to jail for breaking the law I mean enough is enough we aren’t hounding Dean we aren’t hounding Karen he’s a Department Head that works for us and all we’re doing is stabbing him in the back if he’s done something wrong I’ll send him out the door and I’ll have no problem with it I don’t want to continue to do this month after month we can’t get any business done.  Karen King states I’m not a council member I work with him every day and I see the toll this is taking on him we have to take enough criticism from the public we should not have to go through this every single meeting and Tracy Lambert has turned the city around I have been here 16 years the city has never had money in its accounts to pay the bills when they come in the door we do now because Tracy Lamberts department is doing their job now I’m sorry I’m voicing my opinion and I’m just the City Clerk but I handle these finances and for once I have money to pay bills and I’m not borrowing money from Dean Tanner’s account which I hear all the time we are handling our own finances that ought to be enough for itself I’m sorry.  Tracy Lambert states I’d like to go just a little bit further and I appreciate you all’s indulgence Patty Hutcheson states I would like Tracy Lambert states madam may I finish please madam I’m not trying to be disrespectful.  Patty Hutcheson states why can we not just move on from here it’s got to be done in a proper way we just got hounded because we didn’t do things in a proper way.  Tracy Lambert states I just want to say when these are proven unfounded I want Dale Wiggins prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law period either criminally or civilly and I’m willing to go there because when you are defaming a person you’ve got civil and when you are liable and you slander you’ve got civil when you continually he filed a claim with EEOC over retaliation of religious beliefs I don’t even know what his religious beliefs are I’m just telling you all if you want me as your chief I will be as dedicated to you and this town as I possibly can but this is enough my office is always open I can back up everything that we have done but I promise you when this is over I’m coming after every single person that’s filed false claims period I’ve had enough criminally and civilly .  

City Clerk Karen King: 

No update.

Terry Floyd states that after all that you must have a thick skin and he doesn’t envy what everyone has been through tonight, he went to a meeting held by the Department of Community Affairs and they have some law SB370 that is going to go into effect July 1, 2012 and he has some sheets for you that maybe you may want to look at in executive session they have a waiver that you can do the water Lake Lanier and what they want to require all the municipalities to do unless they fall into a certain criteria and City of Buchanan does on the last page where I highlighted it you might want to skim through this real quickly and see you will be able to draw up an ordinance for exemption from this or you will have to comply with all kinds of strict regulations on low flow toilets and cooling towers and all kinds of regulations is coming up.   

Mayor Biggers asks for a motion to adjourn.  Kenny Hughes makes motion to adjourn.  Patricia Warren seconded motion.  Motion carried 4-0.