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Hartford City Council Meets, Discusses Mayoral Vacancy

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The Hartford City Council met on Monday evening, June 17. All members of the council were present. After approving the minutes and financial statements from the previous month, the council moved on to new items of business.

City employee Rich Galyen gave the water report, highlighting all the issues the department is facing with extreme water loss. –See related story.

Next, Fire Chief Richard Hartsfield reported to the council that they are having to get major repairs done to the pumper truck. Also, that he will the instructor for an upcoming first responder course.

The resolution for the fun park grant was the next item on the agenda. The council voted to approve the resolution to move forward on the application. The grant, if awarded, would be used to add another pavilion, electrical outlets and more playground equipment.

Mansfield Mayor Buddy Black and Mansfield Public Works Director Charlie Little were also present at the meeting. Mayor Black presented the council with a proposal for trash pickup. The City of Hartford’s contract with Altes Sanitation will be up next month. The City of Mansfield, according to Black, currently services the outskirts of the city and the addition of the in-town customers would not be problematic. After reviewing the proposal, the council voted to approve the City of Mansfield as their provider.

The next item on the agenda was the mayoral vacancy. After much discussion, the council decided to appoint a mayor, rather than spend $5,000 and hold a special election. “Not allowing the people to pick seems questionable, but using the people’s money to pay for a special election also seems questionable…pick your poison,” said Alderman Lanny Woodhull.

In a vote of five-to-one, with alderman Karen Griffin voting against, the motion passed to appoint a mayor at the next meeting scheduled for July 15. Resumes for the position will be accepted until noon on Thursday, July 11. The city council will meet in special session that evening at 5 p.m. to interview mayoral candidates. Three individuals have already expressed interest in the position: Alderman Raye Morgan, Larry Hall and Joe Gish.

Next, the council heard from a representative of Hartford Pride, Damon Yates. Yates and the organization will be reopening the activity center. The hours of operation will be 6-9 p.m. The City’s Recorder/Treasurer Judy Adair thanked Winnie Hale and Karen Griffin for their work in keeping the center going in the past.

The council then discussed the recent and passed issues with vandalism at the city’s park. Woodhull asked that a proposal be drawn up for the next meeting on purchasing more surveillance cameras and security equipment.

At 7:17 p.m., the council voted to go into executive session. After reconvening at 8:15 p.m., the council voted to hire Michael Fildes as the water clerk. That motion passed in a five-to-one vote, with Karen Griffin voting against, noting, “it’s nothing personal, I just think it’s a conflict of interest.”

The council approved the water clerk’s job description, and the work hours. Fildes will work 16-20 hours a week at the rate of $12 per hour.

Adair shared with the council a letter the city had received from former water clerk, Lisa Buckley. Buckley was terminated by former Mayor, Mary Radley. Buckley had sought an attorney who issued a letter to the city. In that letter, Buckley’s attorney alleged that her termination was wrongful under an exception to the state’s at-will employment law. Buckley sought the following recourse: 1. To be reinstated or 2. To be paid a sum of $6,000. The city was to respond to Buckley’s request by Tuesday, June 18.

With no other items of business to discuss, the meeting of the Hartford City Council was adjourned.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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