City, county at odds over jail

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Warning sirens and the Dallas County Jail &045; reasons for disharmony between the City of Selma and Dallas County won’t stop growing.

City Attorney Jimmy Nunn brought a letter from Dallas County Commission attorney John W. Kelly to the Selma City Council’s attention at its Monday meeting.

The letter concerned the Dallas County Jail contract between the city and county. Mayor James Perkins Jr. has been calling for a re-negotiation of the jail contract for weeks, but it doesn’t appear the county is willing to listen.

Perkins said it was just one more example of how the county acts. &uot;At some point the county needs to sit down and talk,&uot; he said. &uot;I think it’s just very problematic. At least sit down and talk.&uot;

Perkins pointed to recent discussion about weather sirens with county officials as another example of the county and city not seeing eye to eye. According to Perkins, county officials have told him the county will only pay for one siren for each jurisdiction within the county.

The city is the only area within the county, though, that encompasses more than one jurisdiction.

According to Councilwoman Rita Sims Franklin, the city couldn’t do without the sirens. &uot;We’ve got to have these sirens,&uot; she said. &uot;Back on Thanksgiving Day we had one that didn’t go off.&uot;

Councilman Glenn Sexton noted that the city was responsible for the sirens when they were first installed. Perkins responded that Selma might have to take that responsibility again, &uot;But it’s my understanding that the Emergency Management Agency is an agency of Dallas County. It’s the same issue that I’ve been raising. Why do they maintain all sirens are in Dallas County, except for Selma? At some point, the citizens of Selma need to say something.&uot;

Perkins added that the county adds sirens each year, and that the funds come from its budget, which is financed partially by the money of Selmians.

Council President George Evans said Sexton and Councilwoman Nancy Sewell would form a new committee to discuss the matter with the EMA. &uot;And try to get some understanding,&uot; Evans added.

In other matters the council:

Entered an executive session at the suggestion of Perkins. Franklin made the motion to enter the executive session and Councilman James Durry seconded it. The motion passed by unanimous vote. According to Evans, the council entered the executive session to discuss good name and character.

When asked what would be discussed, Evans replied, &uot;You know I can’t answer that.&uot;

When asked who would be discussed in the executive session, Evans said he didn’t know. When asked why he voted to enter an executive session when he didn’t know who would be discussed, Evans said it was because Perkins requested it.

Perkins said he requested the executive session because of a personnel issue that needed addressing. When asked what department the person being discussed worked in, Perkins replied, &uot;I can’t do that.&uot;

Voted 7 to 0 in favor of approving $4,800 in overtime payments. The vote occurred after the executive session and was recommended by Personnel Director Valeria Jones. Council members B.L. Tucker and Bennie Ruth Crenshaw weren’t present.

Voted 7 to 0 in favor of amending the budget by $66,678 to allow for two additional police officers.

Voted 7 to 0 in favor of amending the budget to fund the Dallas County Health Department and the Cahaba Mental Health Center. Ten thousand dollars was removed from the Hyundai commitment. Each agency was given $5,000.