By Tammy Moore Teague
The Mansfield City Council met in regular session on Thursday night. Present were Aldermen Georganna Mabry, Dave Johnson, Jan Carlton, Beverly Lyons, Rick McDaniel and Sheri Hopkins. Also present were Mayor Mike Gipson and Stephanie Morgan. Fire Chief Stephen Haysmer and Police Chief Boyd Farmer were both absent.
After the minutes and financial reports were accepted, Gipson advised the council of multiple residential break-ins –see related story. He stated “I do have a problem right now. I hate to bring this up when they are not here to answer. We have six police and there was no one on call last night until 10 o’clock. I called Eric (Carlton) at 9, well it was before 9, and he said he would be there as soon as possible. He was supposed to be there from 10 to 10 today. There was no one on call. They had to call Fort Smith or Greenwood. So, we’re having a lot of this. We’re having a lot of break-ins. I took an oath to do my best for this town, it’s my fault that I allowed this to happen. So, we are gonna start working on this as soon as possible. I didn’t even know who was on duty and I have to know who is on duty, I am the mayor, that’s my job.” –See 4:00 mark in live coverage of the meeting.
Alderman Lyons responded by recommending that the council consider the expense, “what we have, how many we have and do we need as many as we have.” Carlton inquired of the number of full-time vs. part-time officers, Gipson responded the city has 2 part-time the rest are full-time. Lyons went on to add “when the chief is gone, he leaves someone in charge and that person is failing to do what they were supposed to do.” Gipson admitted he has been “hit pretty hard by not knowing who is on duty, and that it’s not going to happen again.”
The council discussed an application by Matthew Nichols to be added to the Volunteer Fire Department. Nichols holds a training certificate that will allow volunteers to be trained in house. Nichols was voted unanimously to join the department. Gipson reported that only one person from the fire department participated in the PPE (personal protective equipment) training last weekend. However, he was unable to attend the full class.
In other business, Gipson showed the council his idea on improving a flood prone area surrounding a raw sewage tank at the water treatment plant. He plans to move fill dirt in and build up the area to prevent water from reaching it. Gipson went on to add that the walking trail is complete and that he is getting a lot of compliments and positive feedback on the project.
Additionally, the council voted to give Tony Gregory, the city’s class II waste water operator, a raise. He will now make $15/hr. Lastly, Hopkins made the motion to change the day the city observes Halloween from Wednesday night, to Tuesday night. That motion carried on a 5-1 vote, with Carlton voting against.
By Tammy Moore Teague