On Jan. 13, at the Ludowici City Council’s first meeting of the year, members voted unanimously to contract out Bob Pirkle as the city’s attorney. The council set Pirkle’s base annual salary at $9,600. His hiring follows the death of attorney Joe Kitchings, who died Dec. 31, after serving as the city’s attorney since March 2010.
Due to Kitchings’ health problems in recent months, Katie Smith had been serving as the interim attorney. Mayor James Fuller expressed gratitude to both Kitchings and Smith for their service.
“On behalf of the city council and the citizens of Ludowici, I want to acknowledge the service that Joe provided to us and want to say that he will be missed. I also appreciate Katie serving as our interim attorney while Joe was sick,” Fuller said.
He also recommended establishing mayoral term limits. Fuller said he believes a mayor should serve no more than two consecutive terms. After a brief discussion, the council unanimously approved the measure.
Fuller said Pirkle will amend the city charter to reflect the change, which will take effect with the next city election.
Fuller also recommended that the council give all employees a 2 percent pay increase. He said that no raises had been provided in three years, and he feels they’re deserved. The council unanimously approved the measure.
Long County Library manager Tammy Goober asked the council to reinstate $6,000 in annual funding that the city had provided to the library. The cut took effect in January, and funding from the state has decreased; however, costs to provide services have increased, she said. The library’s usage has increased approximately 40 percent over the past year, Goober said.
Mayor James Fuller said the cut initially was made because the money going to the library never had been approved by the city council. After that was discovered, Fuller said they had to stop the monthly $500 payments to the library. Even with the cut, the mayor pointed out the city still is paying the library’s electric-utility, water, sewage, security and light bills. After a brief discussion, the council tabled Goober’s request.
The council also approved the rehiring of all employees for 2015.