MINER -- The regular monthly Miner Board of Aldermen meeting got off to a rocky start Tuesday but ended with business items being resolved including several appointments, among them a full-time fire chief.
The meeting began with Mayor Betty Barnes refusing to recognize a motion from Peggy Holman, Ward 2 alderperson, to accept the bid for a new heating/
air conditioning unit for City Hall.
Barnes asked that it be tabled and handled by the new Board of Aldermen, which it was following a heated discussion.
Holman next opposed accepting the April 3 election results, stating that Janet Williams, who was picked by voters to represent Ward 2 during the April 3 election, is in violation of a city ordinance which requires everybody to be hooked up to city water and sewer services.
"The ordinance states if it's there, you must be hooked up," she said.
Holman said Williams shouldn't take an oath of office swearing to uphold all city ordinances if she is in violation of one.
Williams explained her residence is not hooked up because the city can't afford to put a pump there.
"This meeting is over! I'm swearing in the new members -- come up here," Barnes said following another argument, indicating the newly elected members should come forward to take their oaths.
With new board members Williams and Deloris Smith, Ward 1, in place after being sworn in by City Clerk Janet Tuttle, the Board then turned its attention to making appointments.
First, Joe Fuchs was appointed as city attorney at $135 per hour with a 3-1 vote.
"No," Holman voted. "It's too much money."
The Board next unanimously accepted Ward 1 Alderman Frank Tatum as the mayor pro tem and Smith as the second pro tem.
Lambert Engineering and Surveying was then selected as the city's engineering firm with a unanimous vote.
Asked about his firm's rates by Holman, Chris Lambert said they would charge either a percentage of the construction costs or an hourly rate depending on the project.
When Barnes asked Lambert if he had been asked about rates the last time their firm was appointed as the city's engineering firm, he said he had not.
"Mayor, I'm sorry if you're upset," Holman said.
"I'm not upset," Barnes responded. "I'm on a roll, hon."
The Board next restored the full-time paid position of fire chief/code enforcement officer/building inspector and appointed Randy Allen to the position at $15 per hour.
Allen said rumors that he would fire Jack Tucker, who had been serving as the city's fire chief, were not true.
"There's going to be a lot of changes," he said, adding positions would be based on knowledge, "not who you know."
In a discussion of the job's wages, Holman said the city will now pay a full-
time employee for services that had been rendered at a cost of $570 per month and asked how much board members were willing to pay for a full-
time fire chief.
"Whatever it takes to protect the city," Tatum said.
Holman said Allen must have been notified in advance he would be hired to the position as he quit his former job before he was hired by Miner.
She also questioned Allen's qualifications as a building inspector and voted, "No, because I don't think the man's qualified."
Turning to other items of business listed on the agenda, the Board next approved a liquor license for the 55 North Bar and Grill with a 3-2 vote.
After Tatum and Holman voted no, Barnes cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the liquor license being awarded.
The business' owners, Boyce and Pamela Church, have purchased and renovated the building which was formerly JD's, according to city officials.
"They're going to try to be open every night if they have the business," Tuttle said.
The Board then decided to stay with AT&T for telephone service instead of changing over to Big River Telephone.
Returning finally to the bid for the heating and cooling unit for City Hall tabled earlier, the new Board decided to accept the sole bid of $7,576.80 from Jack O'Guin Heating of Sikeston.
Donna Thomas, a former Board member, then asked Williams if she had promised Allen a job in return for help with her campaign signs.
"No, I did not," Williams said.
Prompted by Barnes to list who was responsible for "tearing the city's fire department apart," Allen named Holman and former board members Thomas, Justin Medley and Marlene Anglin.
Barnes said following the meeting that cooperation between Board members is needed for the good of the city.