During the Rainsville City Council workshop prior to Monday’s meeting, updates were given by each city department head.
The topic of a heated discussion this week was the hiring process for a new director of the Northeast Alabama Agri-business Center. Since the previous director resigned in early March, members of the Public Building Authority board have kept the center running until a replacement is found. Eric Samples, chairman of the PBA, said the board is currently taking applications and resumes.
Councilman Marshall Stiefel voiced his concerns about how the employee would be paid and asked if it would be a contracted or city position.
Samples said the new director would work for the PBA and be salary based with no other benefits.
“They’ll be contracted to us, and we’ll be paying them so much for that contract but we don’t have a say-so about the employee or the benefits or anything,” Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt said.
Stiefel said if the city still subsidizes the center annually, then they should have a say in the hiring process.
According to www.nealagribusinesscenter.com, in the last month, the center has seen the Tennessee Valley Roping Association, Alabama High School Rodeo, Mid-South Paint Horse Show and will host the Kittle Farms Spring Bull Sale, Northeast Alabama Community College graduations, the All American Saddle Breed Association and multiple high school graduations in the coming weeks. Samples said if the council is to dictate who and when someone is hired, they need help soon.
“Well if [the council] needs a say-so then we need some help up there right now,” Samples said. “Whoever wants to go down there, let’s go.”
Samples said for the month of April, he spent more than 300 hours at the center to keep it “going.”
“Well, you volunteered for the job,” Steifel said.
Samples said he didn’t volunteer for the extra hours, it just needed to be done, and as chairman, that fell on him.
“Well, that’s great that he does it, but he’s sitting here saying, “Well I volunteer,” so then don’t complain,” Stiefel said.
Samples then referred to a comment that Stiefel made to him in the Dec. 3, 2018 meeting where the councilman called the center an “albatross around the city’s neck” and that Samples is just playing the hand he was “dealt.”
“I did not,” Samples said. “Complain? Hell, I haven’t volunteered for anything. I’m doing this to keep it going. It got dumped in my lap. You’re the one that said one time that I was dealt a bad hand, and that’s what I’ve got.”
The council also heard updates from the following departments:
• Police Chief Kevin Smith said the First Responder Memorial is approximately 90 percent completed and invited the public the dedication on May 18 at 2 p.m.
• Fire Chief Willimac Wright said the department will conduct their annual hose and ladder testing this month and ISO will evaluate the department for the first time in five years and the Fire Science high school students will take their certification tests Thursday.
• Library Director Sarah Cruze said the children’s summer reading program registration goes through until the end of May. This summer will see young adult and adult programs, as well.
• Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandy Goff said the chamber is already preparing for Freedom Fest, the city’s annual Independence Day festival normally held at the end of June.
• Councilman Rickey Byrum announced the City of Rainsville Spring Cleanup event. He said residents began utilizing the service a week early but it will continue until June. The event is set from May 6, 2019 through June 1, 2019. A roll-on dumpster will be located behind the City Shop. Rainsville sanitation customers can utilize the dumpster Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A copy of participants’ sanitation bill is required.
• Kayron Guffey said the First Responder Memorial has become a reality by the dedicated volunteers and local businesses that have donated time, money or supplies to see it completed in time for the dedication.