Your Error Is Our Gain
There's benefits of attending meetings as a concerned citizen. Most of our elected officials never attended a meeting before getting elected. As a result, they don't have a full understanding of the laws governing their position. Yesterday, the board forced Chief Cowart to select four officers to keep on as Lumberton Police Officers. Their names were written on a budget form and the remaining officers were told they were terminated. Well, as a person that regularly attends board meetings, I know that more is required to terminate a city employee. In order to complete the termination process or reduction in employee hours, the agenda of the board meeting must be amended, the names of the officers being terminated must be added and the motion is carried upon a majority favorable vote.The board followed this process Tuesday when they terminated several part time officers but didn't follow this process on Thursday when they verbally terminated the officers that were not listed on the budget. As a matter of fact, the board recessed the meeting without amending the agenda. Therefore, all officers that were told they were terminated at Thursday's board meeting are still on the payroll until the recessed meeting is called to order and the agenda is amended to terminate them.
Without a vote to terminate the officers, they are still employees of the City of Lumberton. Since the board didn't amend the agenda, the officers cannot draw unemployment because a vote to terminate will not be a part of the official minutes because a vote was never taken. Also, any officer that don't show up for his shift could be listed as a no call no show or the board members can claim they quit and deny their application for unemployment benefits. I don't know how I forgot about this termination requirement but I'm glad I did because I might have brought it to the attention of the board members. But they're the ones elected to serve and it's their responsibility to know the duties and responsibilities of the position they were elected to serve. Someone call Chief Cowart and tell her to put her crew to work because according to the law, they're still employees of the City of Lumberton and they must be paid until the regularly scheduled board meeting reconvene on July 15, 2014. By now, the board members should know that ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Happy Independence Day!