Council at odds over position

The Rainsville City Council accepted Allen Stiefel's resignation Monday night, effective immediately.

Stiefel, the former supervisor at the Rainsville Wastewater Treatment Plant was suspended without pay, pending an investigation. He was arrested in December after an illegal winery was discovered at the plant.

The council also discussed Jimmy Brooks’ move from Wastewater Treatment Plant Maintenance to interim Public Works Director.

The motion caused the council and mayor to be at odds over the temporary candidate for the position.

Rainsville Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt explained the move was temporary until the position was posted and they “settled on a person.”

Councilman Bejan Taheri, who expressed his opposition, asked if Brooks would be receiving a pay raise, to which Lingerfelt said yes.

Lingerfelt said the position pay was a difference around $3,000 to $4,000 a year.

“That’s a promotion,” said Councilman Rickey Byrum, whose sentiments were echoed by Taheri.

“He can do the job, but I am not for the pay,” Taheri said.

Councilman Derek Rosson asked the council to deliberate on the matter, so everyone could be on the same page.

“We got a councilman who doesn’t like him, so he’s not going to support it. He’s voting no,” said Councilman Brandon Freeman.

Taheri said he would not be supporting the motion because the city would be interviewing somebody to fill that position in the future and asked how they would fund the pay for that person if the pay were already given to another individual.

Freeman withdrew the motion following the discussion and confusion regarding the position’s pay by the councilman and mayor.

The council then carried on to an executive session to discuss the good name and character of a city employee.

Following the executive session, the council accepted Allen Steifel’s resignation effective Jan. 4, 2021.

The council also unanimously approved Jimmy Brooks' move from Wastewater Treatment Plant Maintenance to interim Public Works Director starting on Jan. 18, 2021.

The council also heard updates from the following departments and councilmen:

Councilman Byrum informed the council and public he spoke with District IV Commissioner Lester Black regarding the Boozer Bridge setbacks due to the county's continued work on County Road 835, also known as Old Highway 35.

Byrum said it might be sometime in April before the county resumes their part of Boozer Bridge's work but wanted to let people know they have not forgotten about the bridge.

Councilman Freeman reminded the public baseball and softball sign-ups are Jan. 23 and 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Field of Dreams Sports Complex.

The council also:

• approved the placement of Brad Willingham as interim Director of the Wastewater Treatment Plant effective Dec. 23, 2020. Councilman Rosson abstained his vote.

• approved the purchase of a filtered water system at $60 a month for the Rainsville Police Department, Rainsville Fire Department, City Hall, and the Rainsville Wastewater Treatment Plant from Five Star Food Service.

• approved the purchase of a mid-grade vacuum for the Tom Bevill Enrichment Center.

• approved to grant Lingerfelt the authority to set up the financing for the Rainsville Police Department fleet vehicles at First Southern State Bank.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2021, with a workshop at 4 p.m. and a regular session at 4:30 p.m.

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