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Board overturns veto by mayor on policy change

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

MINER -- The Miner Board of Aldermen overturned a veto by the mayor to change policy and allow the city to hire the relative of an existing employee.

The veto preventing the revision to the city handbook was overturned by Board members during their regular meeting Tuesday.

As amended, the city handbook now allows two relatives to be hired in the same city department if all avenues of finding another suitable candidate have failed. According to the ordinance, this only applies to positions that require a license or certification to hold the position.

"It is my belief and opinion that the efforts by a majority of the Board of Aldermen to hire the son-in-law of the existing water and sewer superintendent is not in the best interest of the city of Miner," said Mayor Betty Barnes.

Barnes said "to amend and change the handbook solely to allow for the employment of this individual is blatant favoritism. ... While the city attorney has provided to me a written opinion that such a hiring is not blatantly illegal or in violation of the (state) constitution, any ordinances or statutes, it certainly establishes a troublesome precedent and bad policy and, thus, I vetoed the ordinance."

The revised handbook also now limits employees to three unexcused absences within a 12-month period.

In other business Tuesday:

* Board members approved $785 for the installation of new networking wiring for City Hall and the police department.

Capt. Darrin Skinner of the police department said it should be "a great investment for the city" that will save the city money in repair costs in the future as the current wiring was not professionally installed and is not labeled.

* The Board agreed to schedule a meeting with Joe Pereles, vice president of development for Drury Inns, and the city's building committee to negotiate the amount of land to be given to the city for the construction of a convention center.

* Valve repairs totaling $760 for the fire department's Pumper No. 1 and $2,000 for Pumper No. 2 were approved by board members.

The deficiencies were discovered during the latest pressure test, according to Fire Chief Jack Tucker.