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Council tables amendment to ordinance on hiring, firing city manager
Jenkins: Doesn't want to circumvent mayor's role in process
Hinesville councilman Keith Jenkins, who has missed recent meetings due to an unspecified health issue, attended Thursday's meeting through teleconference. He said he wanted to table an ordinance regarding the hiring and firing of city managers to make sure the mayor's role is not diminished.

Hinesville city council members have tabled a possible change to its ordinance regarding the hiring and removal of city managers.

Council members said at Thursday’s meeting they wanted to further discuss the ordinances in question before deciding on the measure.

Council members have been reviewing changes to ordinances, section 2-282 and 2-286, at the behest of Councilwoman Diana Reid, who moved to have new language drafted by the city attorney to clarify the city manager position.

On Aug. 3, council members discussed a model ordinance from the Georgia Municipal Association as a guide for the hiring and firing of a city manager.

The proposed changes as presented at subsequent meetings and based on the GMA model, seems to limit the Mayor’s input in the hiring and firing process.

The council members reviewed the second draft during the Nov. 2 meeting and placed it on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting as an action item.

Currently section 2-282, now reads that the city manager “shall be appointed by a majority vote of the mayor and city council for an indefinite term.

The draft presented at the Nov. 2 meeting stated, “The city manager shall be appointed by a majority vote of the city council for an indefinite term and shall fix the manager’s compensation.”

The proposed amendment to the ordinance on how to suspend or remove a city manager (2-286) also removes the mayor from the process.

Council member Keith Jenkins, who was teleconferenced into Thursday’s regular meeting at Hinesville City Hall, said he felt it was important to review the policy a little further. He said he didn’t want it to circumvent Mayor Allen Brown’s authority as the city’s chief executive officer. He added the Mayor should be involved in the process.

Jenkins has missed council meetings since he was hospitalized on Oct. 17 with an unspecified health issue. The councilman has been home recuperating.

Reid said she also wanted to set the record straight. She said at no time was she trying to remove the Mayor from the decision making process. She said she simply wanted clarification on whether the Mayor gets to vote during the process or whether he only voted in the case of a tie as with most other city affairs.

She added the council moved forward in using the GMA model in the proposed ordinance changes.

“That’s the GMA model,” Reid said noting the fact that the ordinance does not mention the Mayor in the process. “That’s not the Diana Reid model.”

Councilwoman Vicky Nelson said she understood Jenkins to mean the wording of the ordinance still needed some tweaking.

Reid said what needed to be clarified is whether the mayor votes or not. A motion was made to table the issue. Nelson, Jenkins and Councilmen Kenneth Shaw and Jason Floyd voted for the motion. Reid against.

In other council business:

Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and CVB Executive Director Leah Poole and Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Director Michelle Ricketson highlighted the recent accomplishments made possible by the Home Depot in finishing several projects at Bryant Commons.

Poole said The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot selected Liberty County after native resident Jena Alford informed the Home Depot Group that the work being done in creating Veterans Memorial Walk and Cisco’s dog park would benefit the community. The Home Depot Foundation was considering a site in Savannah but chose the Bryant Commons project instead. The projects took a whole week from start to near completion. Home Depot donated a variety of plants, mulch, pine straw and tools. They also donated $10,000 towards asphalt and $92,400 for all the materials and infrastructure that was used to construct the dog park. Home Depot donated wheel barrows and tools which the Chamber paid forward by donating them to local organizations.

The Community Development Department requested and council approved the Community Home Investment Program (CHIP) grant application for $581,400. CHIP provides funding for housing rehabilitation of owner occupied homes and new construction of single family homes. The total projected budget is $697,680. The Community Development Department is providing funding match of $46,280 through their general funds and $70,000 coming as an in-kind match from two Azalea Street lots.

The council also approved the Department of Transportation’s grant application request of $996,933.90. The federal share amounts to $669,910.10, the state funds $48,983.90 and the local contribution is $278,039.90.

Council approved the renewal of the Hinesville Municipal Court In-House Probation Services.

The council approved the loan agreement and promissory note for the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The loan, not to exceed $2,605,000 will finance the raising of three elevated water tanks, removing one tank from service, rehabilitating existing wells and well buildings.

Council reviewed and awarded a bid by J.C. Lewis Ford for $25,284.46 for the purchase of a 2018 Ford Explorer for the Inspection Department’s fleet. The funds had been allocated in the FY18 budget.

Council approved the renewal of several alcohol beverage license, approved a new alcohol license for Tutu Shan Convenience store and approved a change in ownership as the Clyde’s at 438 W General Screven Way was sold to Manishkumar and Sunita Patel.

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