This was a lengthy council meeting with multiple agenda items that were “administrative” in nature, so I’ll skip a detailed report on those and focus on the main items that were discussed at length during the meeting.
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The meeting began with a few individuals addressing crime in our city, particularly recent events that have been shared on social media regarding car break-ins at Lake Willastein. Police Chief Cory Pickard addressed these incidents afterwards and shared statistics on how Maumelle has less crime than surrounding communities and how our police department is constantly patrolling these areas but they can’t be in every location 100% of the time.
Personally, I visit Lake Willastein often with my kids and I started thinking about how it’s rare to not see a patrol car cruise through while I’m there. Almost always, I’ll see Maumelle Police patrol the area multiple times while I’m in the park. One tip to help prevent break-ins is to put away all valuables in your car so that a person can’t walk past your car and see something in plain sight. This will attract thieves if valuables are left out in the open.
Phillip Raborn, Director of Parks and Recreation gave a report on how his department is gearing up for Summer with baseball season kicking into high gear as well as summer camps and the opening of the pool and splash pad. The splash pad will be available for Saturday/Sunday use beginning this weekend.
On Saturday, May 21, the splash pad will be open and available 7 days a week.
In unfinished business, a few administrative ordinances passed and adopted included an update to our Land Use and Zoning Maps as well as an ordinance to amend notification requirements for changes to the use of real property.
Moving to new business, the first item was a lengthy discussion regarding a lawsuit filed by Jennifer Corriveau against the city. I’ve followed this case since it was filed back in 2018 and am loosely familiar with the case.
Corriveau claims she is owed overtime for additional hours she says she worked for the city. It’s my understanding the city has a strong case that would prove otherwise. Our attorneys from the Arkansas Municipal League presented several different scenarios of how this could play out at trial next month and asked the council if we’d like to accept Corriveau’s latest settlement offer ($33,000 plus attorney’s fees). After a lot of back-and-forth discussion surrounding possible scenarios, I made a motion to reject her offer and this passed by a 6-2 vote of the council. The discussion then turned to whether or not the city would like to make a different settlement offer to Corriveau but there was no desire among anyone on the council to make an offer of settlement. This suit is scheduled to go to trial on June 6.
In other new business, the council approved a reappointment of Billy Herrington to serve on the Civil Service Commission. Mr. Herrington has served the city on this commission for many years and truly enjoys his service there. I’m thankful for his experience and desire to continue giving back to Maumelle by serving in this capacity.
The Elected Officials Salary Task Force committee presented their findings this week and made recommendations for elected officials’ salaries to begin Jan. 1, 2023. These salaries would be in effect for 2023 and 2024. Thanks to Jeff Van Patten for chairing this committee along with Maumelle residents Michelle Elliott, Eric Jones, Justin Simpson, Patti Robinson, Council Member Doug Shinn, and Council Member RJ Mazzoni. Their recommendations are as follows:
Mayor’s current salary: $99,700. new salary: $102,691
City Clerk/Treasurer’s current salary: $63,654; new salary: $67,473
City Attorney’s current salary: $97,224; new salary: $105,002
City Council: No changes to current salary of $7,500.
These recommendations have now been presented to the council in ordinance form and will be discussed and voted on at the June 6 council meeting.
The council approved a budget resolution by a 6-2 vote to appropriate $51,000 to go towards the purchase of new servers to help the city upgrade our technology. Our city’s IT has been a patchwork of many old solutions and we’re undertaking a years-long process to identify areas in which we can upgrade and improve our network. This is one step in what I expect to be several others in years to come to improve the way Maumelle manages our IT which in turn will provide better access and services to our residents.
Lastly, the council had the first reading of an ordinance that would allow a city employee, Patrick McIntire, to do business with the city.
McIntire has ownership in a local towing company that is purchasing another towing company that is already approved to do business with the city. There are a number of tow services that do business in our city already and as long as you meet Maumelle’s requirements for being a towing vendor, then your company can be placed on our dispatch list for a weekly rotation. Since McIntire’s company is purchasing a towing company that already does business in Maumelle, that’s the reason for this ordinance which would show transparency of a city employee who will do business here. The impression I was given was that Maumelle does not make many calls for towing services anyway as a city. Seeing as how anyone can do business in the city as long as they meet our requirements for being a vendor, I don’t have any issues with this since McIntire’s company will be one of many that we allow to service Maumelle and they already do so on a set weekly rotation.
That’s all for the week. Be sure to take your kids or grandkids over to the Splash Pad this weekend for the first time this year. Let me know if I can ever be of service.
Chad, 501-529-1336, firstname.lastname@example.org.