Two Officers Suspended
By Ron Williams
At the Tuesday, Sept. 18th Columbus City Council meeting, Mayor Robert Smith, on behalf of the council, presented a plaque of recognition to retiring city public works employee Willie Ben Williams. Williams spent 20 years in the public works department.
In Other Council Action:
Claude Simpson (who was the only applicant. RW) was appointed to the Municipal Election Commission. The vote was unanimous. Simpson will fill the remaining term of Fred Kinder, who had resigned effective July 9th, 2012. The term will run through June 30th, 2013.
Appointed Eulalie Hazard Davis to the Columbus-Lowndes Library Board. The appointment is for a five-year term. Hazard was among two other applicants, Melinda G. Lowe and Anne Freeze. The vote for Davis, who was nominated by Ward 6’s Bill Gavin and seconded by Ward 2’s Joseph Micken, was unanimous. Hazard will replace Bruce Hufford, whose term will expire on September 30th.
Re-appointed Ralph McLain to the Board of Adjustment & Appeals of Development Codes. The 2 year term that McLain currently holds on the board will expire September 21st. He will serve for another 2 years from that date. His re-appointment was motioned by Ward 1’s Gene Taylor and seconded by Ward 4’s Fred Stewart. The vote was unanimous.
From The Citizens Input Agenda, the council heard from:
Judy G. Holmes appeared before the mayor and council to receive support from the council for the Richard G. Holmes II Memorial Foundation. Mrs Holmes explained that the foundation was founded in honor of her son, who she said died of a drug overdose after serving eight years in the military (part of that in Afghanistan). The foundation was established on Nov. 11th, 2011. Holmes asked that the city partner with the foundation to help the young men and women after they return home from military service abroad.
Mayor Smith asked what type of assistance that Mrs. Holmes was asking of the city. She answered both financially and in-kind services. The mayor and council took Mrs. Holmes request under advisement.
Heard from Dorothy Dowdell in regards to the Lawrence Transit System, the service who will provide bus service to the city at no cost to Columbus (other than in-kind services. RW). Dowdell said that she is the Director of Operations for the transit service. The mayor also called Federal Program Director Travis Jones to the podium.
Dowdell and Jones explained that the service will send three buses to Columbus soon to begin operations. Dowdell and Jones both stressed that the only obligation of the city would be in-kind services. Jones said that, initially, the three buses would begin the operations and buses will be added as needed.
Ward 5 City Councilman Kabir Karriem asked how much the bus rides would cost. Dowdell answered that a specific pricing for Columbus had not yet been decided, but that, generally speaking, one-way rides were usually $2 and special, handicapped pricing would possibly be $5 a month. All these prices are general and are subject to change.
The council gave approval to move forward on the project after the council members have received contracts and spoken with Mr. Redding (The Company CEO. RW).
The Council heard from Garthia Elena Halbert about her upcoming Woman 2 Woman Retreat, a non profit organization that Halbert says is to empower women. She says that the inaugural event will be held at Columbus High School from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29th and that the event is free and open to the public. The event will feature motivational speakers and that the Woman 2 Woman working woman’s retreat will be the biggest fundraiser of the year. Halbert said the event is geared toward women between the ages of 20-40.
Mayor Smith and the council unanimously supported the cause with a letter of support from the city of Columbus.
The mayor and council voted to go into executive session to deal with two personnel matters, one involving Columbus Police Officer Vincent Samuel. Samuel was suspended for 30 days. The reasons for his suspension have not been released.
Officer Rebecca Lomax was suspended 23 days for a car accident. This is Lomax’s third suspension while at the Columbus Police Department, all three were the result of damage to city vehicles.0