The Louisiana City Council paved the way for city employee James Minor to run for the board with an amendment of an ordinance at the Monday, Nov. 11 meeting.
The board voted to amend a law because of possible liability and conflicts with a state law that allows employees to run for office. The final reading in March will enact it.
The state law says no city council can adopt an ordinance that conflicts with state laws. Before it was amended, the city’s ordinance said the fire department and police department could not mingle personnel.
City officials feared that law could be construed to mean that Minor would have to give up his part-time job with the street department or his council post, should he beat Bart Niedner in the April 1 election.
Impeached City Council member Robbyn Morris asked for an explanation of the law at the Nov. 4 meeting and City Attorney Robert Rapp said he would provide a written response.
But right before the Nov. 11 meeting, City Board of Adjustment chairman Porter Elliott advised the city to not answer Morris, because the city is not supposed to spend time and money on legal research for private individuals.
Rapp agreed, saying Morris’ request was “outside the duty of the city attorney.”
City officials initially thought the ordinance conflicted with the Hatch Act, which bans city employees from running in partisan elections.
Once council members heard Rapp and determined that the council election was not partisan, they voted to amend the original ordinance 7-0.
In other news:
• Council members did the first reading of an ordinance that would change the city administrator’s position from a contractual situation to an annual appointment by the mayor to be approved by the council. Councilwoman Ann Handford voted no in the 6-1 tally. It could become official after a second reading in March.
• The board had the first reading of an exhaustive new animal ordinance, which could also be finalized with a second reading in March.
• City Administrator Bob Jenne said he was picking up “a significant amount” of free dog food donated to the city’s animal shelter by the Northeast Correctional Center in Bowling Green. Jenne said the donation was due to the work of Animal Control Officer Wylie Harrison and said there could be more coming from the prison in the future.
• The board authorized Police Chief Rich Hughes to begin erecting signs limiting parking on Georgia St. after complaints were lodged with council members Russell Stephens and Jim Wood. Stephens said both had numerous complaints about long-term daylight parking on Georgia Street hurting businesses.
Hughes will post two-hour limit signs in the places he deems necessary.
• Gina Calvin was hired as a full-time police officer following the resignation of Capt. Jeff Windmiller.
Stephens said another officer would have to be hired soon to replace Jody Blaylock, who is moving to the Pike County Sheriff’s Department.