A gun that was found during a Nov. 7 cleanup was the focus of a heated discussion at the Nov. 10 Ludowici City Council meeting.
Business owner Sean Tucker, who organized the cleanup day, told the council that city employees allegedly had made derogatory statements about him on Facebook.
Tucker said the comments alleged that he had planted a pistol that was discovered during the cleanup day to “make the city look bad.” He said at least two employees had also “defamed” him on the site.
Tucker said because of their actions he wished to file a formal grievance against them and their supervisor Sylvia Davis.
District 1 Councilwoman Mary Hamilton told Tucker that if the employees did not make the statements while they were at work, then the city had no say over their personal actions.
District 4 Councilwoman Kathy Phillips disagreed with Hamilton.
“If you work for the city, you should conduct yourself in a professional manner,” Phillips said.
Davis told the council that the two employees who posted the comments had been disciplined and counseled for their actions.
Tucker asked what type of discipline had been given, to which Davis said “a verbal reprimand.” After the meeting, Davis told the Coastal Courier that the city has a three-step process for disciplining employees, and that a documented verbal reprimand was the first step.
During the meeting, Tucker told the council he did not feel a verbal reprimand was appropriate and he plans to take the city to court over the matter.
In other business, the council unanimously approved a draft for the 2016 budget. The total of the budget was estimated to be $1,274,539.
The council also approved keeping the current millage rate of 9.0 for the upcoming year.
For November, Mayor James Fuller reported that the city’s bank balance was $83,849, the water-and-sewer balance was $75,446, the general fund savings was $244,456, and the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax balance was $75,400. He said the general fund bills were $7,783, and the water and sewer bills were $3,841.
The council also:
• Approved changing the name of Piedmont Lane to Bessie Gordon Lane.
• Approved the city’s Christmas party, which is scheduled to take place Dec. 11.
• Approved city employees having Nov. 26 and 27 off for Thanksgiving.