Review of October 21, 2014 Meeting: This Is Not Adding Up Edition
Next on the agenda was a discussion to implement a Neighborhood Watch Program to help combat crime. Most cities hire more officers during spikes in crime but the City of Lumberton wants to buy Neighborhood Watch signs and call it a day. The aldermen are supposed to help implement the program but some say they're too busy or have too much on their plates to reach out to thosevin their wards. Interesting. I bet they're not too busy to cash them checks or use that citizen paid insurance; that is whenever Merlene submits the payment. The board tabled the motion to make the final payment to Berkadia Commercial Mortgage amount of $4,260.79 because Merlene did not know the origins of this loan and couldn't find any paperwork regarding this loan. If Merlene had paid attention in training class, she would have known to go to the BBI software program, access "Budgetary" and the payment history for Berkadia would have popped up on her screen. Had she known how to properly access the office files, she would have also known that payments on this loan were made monthly not annually. It's sad that I know who to contact to get this information but the current clerk, the guardian of records, does not. What's that old addage about teaching an old dog new tricks? I guess, in my Mikki Howard voice, experience is not always a good teacher.
The board discussed the delinquent payments from Media 3. It seems the contact has ended and the city is not receiving payments in a timely fashion. My question, if the contract has ended, how can the city enforce payment obligations? Also, it seems rather hypocritical of a board to demand timely payments when they're not paying their bills in a timely fashion. How can you expect others to practice what you dont practice? The final agenda item was to vote to approve sick leave and vacation time for Gay P. Smith and Deron Nored so they can get retirement credit with PERS (Public Employees Retirement System of Mississippi). It seems that these two former employees didnt get PERS credit while working for the City of Lumberton. Winston explained that it wouldn't cost the city any money but I beg to differ. In order to get PERS benefits, PERS must be paid. The board voted to give credit for sick and pay leave for the two employees because they said they did not reveive the days while working for Lumberton. Now, I can, by the stretch of my imagination, see a person not using all their sick days but I can't understand how a person work for seven years and not use any vacation days. I just don't see that happening. The board voted to give them those days but I believe once the information is sent to PERS, they're going to check their records and if they haven't received payment for those years, they're going to require payment, from the City of Lumberton, before granting any benefits based on those years. The meeting was adjourned but before the meeting was adjourned, Jay McGraw wanted to announce that the board did not give themselves a raise. Look at the budget, a raise was budgeted but before the raise can be initiated, they must put it on the agenda. So, you got caught with your hands in the cookie jar; you were hoping no one was looking.