Review of April 7, 2015 Board Meeting: Merlene the Money Pit Edition
The department heads gave their reports. I uploaded the videos on the Lumberton Informer Facebook page. Ben Winston addressed the public, urging citizens to pray. There was an order to approve unpaid claims for the month of March, 2015 in tne amount of $25,283.89 for general fund and $32,361.65 WSOM. There was an order to approve paid claims for the month of March, 2015 for the general fund, $76,013.98, and $37,466.25 for WSOM. The board approved payroll for March, 2015 in the amount of $35,089.11. Next the board voted to pay BBI $3,507.84 to bring the bank account up to balance with the budget for FY2015. If you recall, a few months ago, Merlene claimed she wasn't trained in budgetarty. As a result of tnis claim, tne board paid thousands to have her trained for tne BBI system. Merlene recently went to training, all expenses paid, and now we're paying more money to BBI to do the work she was trained to do. For a board almost completely comprised of men, they vote like group of eunuchs. No one has the cojones to tell Merlene to do her job or look for another one. Instead, they keep throwing money down the drain for someone that's either not willing or does not have the wherewithal to do her job. The board never had enough money to give the court clerk 40/week, but they continue to fund an inept city clerk. Let's face it, Merlene is not a good investment. Seriously, how many more years can she actually serve in this position? Sooner or later, the city is going to have to face the music and start making sound business decisions. Most elderly people that don't have enough funds or sense to retire are usually greeting you at the doors of Wal-Mart but the previous board thought she would make a good clerk because she knew how to organize a tire factory and the current board continues to let her waste resources by trying to teach an old dog new tricks. In case they didn't notice, it takes a lot of training to get a person from an abacus to a software application. She knows her way around my blog but she's not as astute when it comes to BBI. I wonder what's going to be her excuse for FY2016?
The board accepted the resignation of Officer M. Shane Flynt effective March 25, 2015. The board accepted the resignation of Officer Michael Decelle from full time to part time effective April 7, 2015. There was an order to allow Officer Joe Van Parkman and Officer Carlus Paige to become a full time officer effective April 7, 2015. There was an order to solicit quotes to purchase a new diffused air type aerator for the waste water treatment plant under the 2015 CDBG sewer improvement grant project. The board voted to hire William Kelley and Arthur Patton as seasonal workers for the Public Works Department. There was a vote to have a budget update once BBI complete the work. There was a vote to hire an intern from USM to help in the city clerk's office. It was a 3-2 vote with Q. Rogers, Dukes and C. Rogers voting for the intern and McGraw and Cridet against. The city attorney advised the board that the intern cannot handle any money because she cannot be bonded but she could help with paperwork. After the hiring of the intern was approved, Merlene said she didn't want any help in her office so that should put an end to her crying about she need help since she turned down free help. After Merlene refused the services of the intern, Chief Cowart said she would love to have her work in her department. Last on the agenda was citizens comments.
One citizen wanted to address the board regarding personnel issues but the Mayor and most of the board refused to go into executive session. They claimed it would have violated The Open Meetings Act but it didn't. I guess this board needs a refresher course in the laws governing their position. I posted the video but based on Merlene's reaction, it was clear that the citizen was telling the truth. Merlene started writing notes, giving her confused, deer caught in head lights reaction and whispering. I don't know what she was hiding but when a person is telling the truth, they generally don't resort to whispering. If someone is calling me a liar, to my face, I'm vehemently going to defend myself. I'm not going to retreat by whispering my side of tne story. But she could have fabricated her story behind closed doors but the board didn't want to go into executive session. There were other matters discussed, Crider didn't want to be bothered and left before the meeting was adjourned. After briefly discussing other concerns, the meeting was adjourned.