Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - August 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
Citzens question validity of meeting
Houston County Courier - August 2009
As Housing Authority of the city of Crockett Chairman Jack Barbee attempted to call roll to establish a quorum for the special meeting held on Tuesday, Aug. 25, John Jenkins spoke out protesting the validity of the meeting. Jenkins said there were no sign-in sheets for the public so they can speak and no copies of the agenda were available to allow the public to know what was on the agenda.
Housing Authority Attorney Bill Pemberton told Jenkins he was out of order.
Jenkins than said, “We the people are the ones here that are concerned.”
Barbee responded by telling Jenkins there would be a place in the meeting for the public to speak and then began the roll call with members Wayne Tubbs, Karen Johnson and Barbee present. Members absent from the meeting included Dale Clark and Dorothy Wyatt. Bridget Lamb resigned and Crockett Mayor Wayne Mask replaced her with Johnson.
Once a quorum was established, members approved the minutes of the Wednesday, Aug. 19 meeting and Jenkins asked for a copy of the agenda, which he was provided.
Barbee then said that members would go into executive session to consider personnel matters.
While bantering back and forth with Barbee, Jenkins said “You are in violation of procedures that are set forth before you. You do not have the right to go into executive session on a personnel matter.”
Barbee responded by saying, “We think we do.”
The tense exchange between Barbee and Jenkins continued until member Wayne Tubbs told him that if he interrupted the meeting one more time they may have to have him escorted out; that they were just trying to get the meeting started.
Three Crockett Police Department officers approached Jenkins and asked him to be seated and he complied.
The meeting continued and members went into executive session.
Before members retired to executive session, Housing Authority employee John Pigford spoke out saying he had been off work for seven days and would like the opportunity to speak before they went into executive session. Addressing Barbee, he said, “I never got a notice. I never got anything. You, yourself Mr. Barbee, looked me in the eye and told me that.”
Housing Authority employee Penny Thornton spoke out saying the employees had the right to ask that the meeting stay open.
CPD officers then instructed citizens to leave the room to allow members to adjourn to executive session.
Members were adjourned in executive session for about 40 minutes.
When they returned, members voted on three personnel issues.
Members voted to terminate maintenance employee Ronald Cook.
Members voted to table a decision on the employment of security personnel Mike Molnes.
Members voted not to terminate maintenance employee Pigford.
Members returned to closed session to discuss naming an interim director and named Otis Bryan to that position.
Bryan will begin in the position on Monday, Aug. 31 and Johnson said he would contact employees regarding their status.
Members also approved a mandatory drug testing policy in place.
Barbee then called for public comments and limited citizens to five minutes.
Jenkins and Ms. Thornton reiterated their positions on the closing of the offices and validity of the meeting.
Renee Minter, former Housing Authority executive director, said “You terminated me and I’ve never met you.” She then addressed Pemberton regarding what she considered a conflict of interest saying he represented Mandy Nash.
Pemberton replied by saying he did not represent Ms. Nash and she could check the records at the courthouse.
Two residents of the Housing Authority spoke praising the maintenance department and security. Both also asked if they could be notified of future meetings.