published Saturday, December 15th, 2012

South Pittsburg delays decision yet on hiring Princess Theater worker

The Princess Theatre in South Pittsburg
The Princess Theatre in South Pittsburg
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — For the fourth straight month, South Pittsburg city commissioners have put off a decision on hiring a part-time worker at the Princess Theater.

In September, City Administrator Bently Thomas and Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Bradford proposed hiring someone to help out at the theater during weekend events.

Bradford said in November that with growing interest in the facility, the work is becoming more than one or two regular city employees can handle.

"It makes it harder when we're trying to do more at the theater," she said. "We're trying to make it a better thing, but it's hard when we don't have help to do it."

With one commissioner missing at the September and November meetings, the vote was a 2-2 tie. The proposal didn't come up at the October meeting.

This week three new board members were sworn in, including Mayor Jane Dawkins. Commissioners voted unanimously to table the issue until Jan. 8.

Dawkins said she wanted to meet with Bradford and get more details before the board votes again.

"It is my understanding that it's actually a budgeted thing and that [the board] has to approve any help that [Bradford] asks for," she said. "Quite honestly, sitting out in the audience [in November], it came off as if she was wanting to hire an employee."

The Parks and Recreation budget includes a line item for part-time and seasonal employees, Bradford said in November.

Dawkins said the department can have "a list of helpers" as long as they are board-approved.

"That's a whole different ballgame [from hiring a city employee]," she said.

She said one of her top priorities as mayor is seeing the use of the Princess Theatre expanded by bringing in more plays, shows and other cultural events.

"I hope to be able to help be a steward of that facility, and us develop something that works," Dawkins said.

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