Council expresses concern over 911 response

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 9, 2006

The Selma Times Journal

During Monday night’s Selma City Council meeting,Councilmembers Bennie Ruth Crenshaw, Johnnie Leashore and Cecil Williamson expressed concern about 911 response.

“People are getting slow response. Citizens are calling E-911 when they’re phoning 874-6611 and they are putting our citizens in harm’s way,” Leashore said. “Our police are getting a bad reputation and I take exception. If you don’t get response when you call 874-6611, call your councilperson and let us follow up.”

Email newsletter signup

According to the listing in the phone book, 874-6611 is the listing for police information only. All emergency callers should phone 911 for response.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. gave his report, opening by recognizing service to the city. He commended four police staff:

Jill Melton, five years; Doris Griffin, 10 years; Tommy Buford, 10 years; and Tory Neely, 10 years.

Congratulating Johnny Moss Sr., retiring after 29 years of “dedicated service with the Housing Authority,” he proclaimed Jan. 9 as “Johnny Moss Day.” Moss received a standing ovation.

Mayoral business included restructuring the financial department to increase salary for an open accounting supervisor position. The budget will increase by $4,400 next year to provide for the change. The resolution was unanimously approved.

In another matter, Mallieve Breeding, representing Selma Pride, asked the council to review a letter asking business owners along the Voting Rights Trail to clean up property to honor the trail.

In unrelated business:

Dr. Kirit Chapatwala, with the Tri-County Sickle Cell Disease Association, requested further funding.

Clyde Richardson of The Tornado Lounge said his club was shut down on Christmas Eve by the local police for a disturbance not caused by or related to his club.

“We give the city of Selma and the police department respect and they don’t give it back to us. We took a $10,000 loss by shutting down,” Richardson said.

Council President George Evans referred Richardson to the Public Safety Committee for follow-up.

The council agreed to roll over $7,500 unused in appropriations for Katrina evacuees to industry recruitment funding.

Ten condemned properties classified as dangerous were approved to receive notice.

Off-premises liquor licensing for 907 Broad St was put on first read. City attorney Jimmy Nunn noted an EEOC charge had been filed against the city from within the police department for race and retaliation violations.

A prior request by council to Nunn for written resolution to move citizens’ requests to the beginning of meetings was coupled with a resolution formed by Nunn and Leashore asking that if the council president had any opinion, he yield his chair if he wanted to voice it.

“The League of Municipalities says you have to give up the chair if you are debating issues,” Nunn offered. Nunn and Evans agreed to meet during the week to share a conference call with the League about proper procedure.

A revised copy of the approved pay plan, increased by $455,000 without benefits, was not yet ready.

Personnel director Val Jones returns with the final draft at the next meeting.

Perkins said he will meet with Norfolk-Southern this week to improve blocked traffic if possible.

Evans, having spoken by telephone to County Commissioner Curtis Williams, let the council know that “the county will not do anything due to budgeting constraints” for Selma-Dallas County Public Library’s utilities.

A meeting to continue discussing utility funding for the library is scheduled for 5 p.m. in the Vaughan Room of the library.

The Recreation Committee meets Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. in chambers at City Hall. The Public Safety Committee meets Jan. 19 at 5 p.m. in chambers at City Hall.