The Waynesboro City Commission met in regular session on Monday, December 14th, 2020 at City Hall in Waynesboro. Commissioners present included Mayor Chris Bevis, Vice Mayor Jeff Davis, Commissioner Lynn Warren, and Commissioner Tony Creasy. Also in attendance were City Manager John Hickman, City Attorney Josh Polk, and City Recorder Paige Jackson. Commissioner Jeff Howell was absent due to illness.
Mayor Bevis called the meeting to order, and City Manager Hickman offered the invocation.
Commissioner Creasy made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting. The motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Davis, and the minutes were unanimously approved.
City Manager Hickman then distributed the monthly cash collateral statements and investment reports for the commissioners’ review.
A brief discussion followed regarding the date of the next commission meeting. The commission decided to cancel the last meeting of the year on December 28th, and to resume meetings in the new year on Monday, January 11th.
The first item of new business on the agenda was the approval of surplus items, including vehicles and scrap metal. Commissioner Creasy made a motion to approve the items as surplus, and Commissioner Warren seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
Next on the agenda was employee vacation pay. City Manager Hickman stated that due to the extenuating circumstances of COVID-19 this year, several employees had been forced to postpone or cancel vacations, leaving them with unused vacation pay. He proposed that the commission approve the rollover of unused vacation time for city employees for this year only. Vice Mayor Davis made a motion to approve the vacation time rollover, and Commissioner Warren seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
A resolution approving the dedication of the soccer fields at the Sportsplex in honor of longtime soccer coach and mentor Harvey Baker was next on the agenda. Commissioner Warren made a motion to confirm the resolution, and Vice Mayor Davis seconded the motion. The resolution was unanimously adopted to dedicate the soccer fields in honor of Mr. Harvey Baker. Mr. Baker came by City Hall a couple of days later to be presented with his plaque and a copy of the resolution.
Next under new business was a resolution stating the city’s support for the state acquisition of Martin Methodist College in Pulaski. The college is set to become a part of the University of Tennessee system. Commissioner Creasy made a motion to approve the resolution, and Vice Mayor Davis seconded. The resolution was unanimously approved.
The last item of new business on the agenda was the appointment of a municipal judge. Mr. Bob Turman, who served as the city’s judge for over thirty years, recently passed away from complications of COVID-19. City Manager Hickman confirmed that Judge Turman’s replacement would have to be an attorney according to Tennessee State Code, and that Judge Turman had been “grandfathered in” to the position during his tenure. Mayor Bevis stated that the only individual who had approached him about being interested in the position was local attorney James Ross. Police Chief Walter Smith said that if Mr. Ross were to be appointed to the position, it would be financially beneficial to the city because Ross is the only attorney in the county who is licensed to hear juvenile cases, including traffic court cases. Juveniles receiving tickets in the past were unable to have their cases heard in City Court, and have always been transferred to Ross anyway in General Sessions Court. If Ross were to be appointed as City Judge, the city of Waynesboro would receive the court costs from juvenile offenders instead of the court costs being paid to the county.
A fairly lengthy discussion followed among the commissioners, with all verbally agreeing that the City Judge position should be given to a local attorney. With no other names presented for consideration, Commissioner Warren made a motion to appoint James Ross as Waynesboro City Judge. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Creasy, and passed on roll call vote with Commissioners Warren, Creasy, and Bevis voting yes, and Commissioner Davis passing on the vote.
Under open items on the agenda, Vice Mayor Davis asked if the road patching crew had ever shown up. City Manager Hickman said that he received a call from the patching crew saying that it would be spring of next year before they could come, as the asphalt plant has now shut down for the winter.
Vice Mayor Davis then asked if any progress had been made on lessening the odor from the sewer plant. City Manager Hickman said that the problem was being addressed weekly with Sewer Plant Manager Patrick Burns, and that Burns was checking everything that could be checked, and was adding deodorizer more than ever before.
Davis went on to inquire about the recent fire that destroyed the main pavilion at City Park. Police Chief Smith said that the fire is still under investigation, but at this time it appears to have been accidental rather than intentional. City Manager Hickman said that the check from the insurance company had not yet been received, so the repairs or possible rebuilding of the pavilion have not yet been discussed.
City Manager Hickman concluded the meeting by telling the commission that he had spoken with Commissioner Howell, who tested positive for COVID-19 but feels fairly well and is only experiencing minor symptoms. Mayor Bevis asked that everyone keep Commissioner Howell in their thoughts and prayers.
With no further business to come before the commission, Commissioner Creasy made a motion to adjourn. Vice Mayor Davis seconded the motion, and the meeting was adjourned.