Council members question contract

Council members question contract

November 22nd, 2009 by Cliff Hightower and Matt Wilson in Blogsmetrochatt

After some City Council members said they thought someone else could do his job, the Rev. Mike Feely's contract as a personal liaison for the city between the Hispanic and homeless communities was barely renewed.

The council voted 5-3 for the $22,000-a-year contract.

"I don't think his contract has performed up to $20,000 a year," Councilman Andraé McGary said Tuesday during the regular council meeting.

Mr. McGary, along with Councilwomen Pam Ladd and Deborah Scott, all voted against the contract. Councilwoman Carol Berz abstained.

The city first approved the contract for the part-time position last year.

Mr. McGary argued that other city departments can do the work and some already are.

Mr. Feely, who served an interim term on the council, said Friday he held no hard feelings.

"I have a lot of respect for the City Council and know the budget constraints," he said.

He said he conducted a report on some of the work he was doing about six weeks ago and turned it into the City Council.

"I don't know if all of them got it," he said.

COMMission honors, roasts adams

County commissioners on Wednesday reacted with some genuine sentiment and some friendly ribbing to Monday's news that Chairman Curtis Adams won't run for re-election.

"It's like losing a member of the family," said Commissioner Fred Skillern. "But like all families, it just one less mouth I have to feed."

Commissioner John Allen Brooks said he's enjoyed being around Mr. Adams, who has been on the commission since 1988.

"I wasn't always sure what you were going to do," Mr. Brooks said. "But I had no doubt that you'd go ahead, whatever it was."

Commissioner Richard Casavant said it was appropriate to call Mr. Adams "family." Mr. Adams pointed out that Dr. Casavant will be the "senior" commissioner after Mr. Adams leaves.

"I've got to get re-elected first," Dr. Casavant said.

County Mayor Claude Ramsey and County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said they would save their comments for the end of the term in about 10 months.

Mr. Adams asked the county clerk to keep the comments on tape. "Save this for Dot (his wife) at my funeral," he joked.

habitat house honors hullander's son-in-law

Construction started Thursday on a new home for Michelle Moore and her family in honor of Commissioner Bill Hullander's son-in-law, Chris Horne, who died in a car crash two years ago.

Mr. Horne had married Mr. Hullander's daughter, Mandy, in June 2007.

The Habitat for Humanity house on Olive Street should be completed in a few months. Ms. Moore is working on the house herself, building up the hours required for her to close on the house.

Mr. Hullander said Wednesday that Mr. Horne had been very active in Habitat for Humanity projects.

"We feel fortunate as a family to have been part of this," he said.

COUNCILWOMAN QUESTIONS SPECIAL EXCEPTION

Mrs. Scott questioned Tuesday whether the city should be allowing signage draped across the downtown area when the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision comes to town in December.

"My concern is that we are setting a precedent," she said.

The council voted 8-1 Tuesday night to allow signs and banners to be hung downtown from Dec. 14-19, the week the game will be in town.

The NCAA committee that selects locations for future championship games also will be in town that week. Chattanooga is competing against several other cities to keep the game in the city.

Mr. McGary said the game brings thousands of people into the city and draws millions of dollars in revenue.

"It would be in the best interest to look at these in a case-by-case basis," he said.

Mrs. Scott asked if allowing signs downtown had ever been done before. Steve Leach, administrator of Public Works, said he knew of no such instance.

Councilman Manny Rico said this is a special exception.

"The signs are for the committee to show we're committed," he said.

AN OPPORTUNITY WASTED?

During the discussion of the NCAA championship game, Mrs. Scott said she had one more point to make.

Council Chairman Jack Benson told her to hold her thought because Mr. McGary wanted to make a statement. After Mr. McGary stopped speaking, Mr. Benson said Mrs. Scott now had a chance to chime in with her comments.

"I have nothing else to say," she said.

"I was hoping you'd get on Mr. Rico," he said, laughing. "I should have let you talk when I had the chance."

UH OH, NOT AGAIN

Immediately after the council voted on the ordinance allowing signs to be hung downtown during the NCAA championship game, Assistant City Clerk Shirley Crownover started to read the ordinance again.

She immediately stopped.

"I don't want to go over that one again," she said.