Loudon City Council votes to keep Lynn Mills

Heidi Lara News-Herald.net

Council originally made the decision after Mills had previously indicated he would retire in 2016.

After meeting with Mills multiples times over the last couple months, no agreement was reached.

“I’ve not been able to work out a severance package or a final work date,” Ford said. “Several offers were made and have not been accepted.”

If the motion wasn’t rescinded Monday evening, Ford would continue meeting with Mills and report back each month at city council, he said.

“We would be in the same position we are in now,” Ford said. “I was asked to work with the city manager in December, and I came back asking for an extension after having no agreement. I would need to continue negotiations. I’ve not been able to reach an agreement. I don’t think we’ll reach an agreement.”

Councilman Johnny James motioned to rescind the November city council motion.
“I will make a motion that the city manager not vacate his position at this time,” James said, adding in a follow-up interview that he made the motion due to Ford’s recommendation.
“Based on the advice of my attorney is all I can say,” James said. “I don’t know anything else than you do. That’s all I can say.”
Ford clarified that James made a motion to rescind the motion that the city manager vacate his position subject to a resolution with Ford.
After a long pause for a second motion, Mayor Jim Greenway asked again for a second motion before Councilman Dennis Stewart seconded.
“However, I think we need to make some standards that have to be met,” Stewart said. “I don’t know how to say this. I know I’m not being politically correct, but we need to have some standards set in place to make sure the job gets done after three to four weeks of no one doing it.”
Rescinding the motion returns operations to “business as usual,” while Ford recommended bringing in a human resources consultant to craft additional polices and procedures for moving forward.
“I’ve supported (Lynn Mills) since day one,” Councilman Lynn Millsaps, the lone opponent of November’s motion, said in a follow-up interview regarding Monday evening’s decision.
Mills had no comment regarding Monday’s decision or about ongoing negotiations with Ford.
“I would hope that I can return to work as soon as I can,” Mills said.
In other business, council:
Approved the demolition of a structure at 734 Highland Ave., for the lowest bid of $9,500 from Curtis Excavating Company, Inc. James made a motion and Jeff Harris seconded.
Agreed to the demolition of a structure at 402 Angel Row for the lowest bid of $11,000 from Asbestos Management Company. Harris made a motion and Stewart seconded.
Amended the 2016-17 fiscal year budget in the general fund for $30,000 to help the Codes Enforcement Office clean up overgrown, dilapidated properties deemed as a safety and health hazard and $42,000 to repair drainage at Poplar and Church streets. Also amended was the lighting of Municipal Park Drive for $20,000 from the recreation fund. Harris made a motion and James seconded.
Approved the city of Loudon Section 125 Cafeteria Plan to accommodate employee benefits. Harris made a motion and Stewart seconded.
Passed a resolution for the Public Works Department to begin requesting labor bids for improving the drainage ditch in the Poplar and Church streets area. The city will furnish materials for the project. More than one contractor may be involved, Director Bill Fagg said. Harris made a motion and James seconded.
Mayor Jim Greenway requested the 2017-18 fiscal year budget be made available in April rather than May to allow time for more discussion. Ford recommended council direct the city manager to make sure that happens. No motion was required.