Review of October 21, 2014 Meeting: This Is Not Adding Up Edition

If your spouse told you not to get on to this blog this post is not intended for you. Now for the rest of the readers the meeting went as follows:The board meeting started with an order to approve the transfer of $15,000 from WSOM account to the general fund. The motion was approved. After the motion to transfer another $15,000 from WSOM, Jay McGraw, the unofficial city clerk (I guess thats why he and Melissa butted heads), went into a tirade about how much money the city was receiving from various grant programs but I guess he forgot that he and the majority of the board voted to close those accounts, so how will the money get deposited; especially the anticipated grant money? The majority of this post will have references to the video of the meetings; so if you havent watched the video, I would advise you to do so. Somehow, during the confusing explanation about the need to borrow more money from WSOM, it was revealed that WSOM actually owes money to the general fund. Now, we have sat through meeting after meeting but this is the first time this little kniwn fact surfaced. If the general fund is owed money from WSOM, then it proves the point I've been trying to make; Merlene has been paying bills from the wrong accounts. When questioned by various citizens, Mayor Winston could not explain the discrepancy. Also, there was an effort to hide the real reason why the board needed to borrow money during the first month of a new budget year. Do you remember when the insurance representative attended the last board meeting and accused Merlene of not paying the insurance premium and Merlene swore on a stack of bibles that she paid the insurance? Well, she has been shown to be a liar.....again. As a matter of fact, the board said they had coverage by two insurance providers and neither company was paid, despite the deductions made evey week to the employees paycheck. Now the city has to pay both companies, the employee`s have no coverage and unless they sue the city, they're out of the money that was deducted from their chevks for insurance coverage. We're going to loose more money because Merlene did not pay the bills that were approved for payment. Now we know why she never got up to show the insurance representative proof of payment. The payment was never made.

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.


  1. I truly hope Lumberton politics grow up one day. So much potential is going to waste daily. Keep up the good work and God bless.

  2. you ever notice deron nored : first name is last name backwards?

    1. Just noticed that. The city clerk said he worked for the police from 2001-2003. She said thru have his employment file but not the file for the other employee. Interesting!

  3. I would be ashamed as a city clerk knowing a blogger has more knowledge about my job than me. Merlene is truly sad


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