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Council bemoans incomplete work orders, talks hazard pay

The Selma City Council met via teleconference Monday for its first work session since the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to most city gatherings and again potholes, overgrown city lots and garbage topped council members’ concerns.

Selma City Councilwoman Susan Youngblood opened the meeting by  stating her intention to use gas tax proceeds to patch potholes on Lincoln Place, which she said is in horrible shape.

Shortly thereafter, Selma City Councilman Sam Randolph noted rising trash heaps in his ward and wondered where the city’s five trash trucks have been, claiming that he has only seen three operating.

Selma City Councilwoman bemoaned incomplete work orders in general, wondering what the council could do to get the work done.

Selma City Council President Corey Bowie explained that the work order requests are submitted to the mayor’s office by Carneetie Ellison, the council’s contracted administrative assistant; from there, the mayor assigns the work to the proper department for execution.

“We have a whole department that should be working on these things and, instead, we have had to contract work out,” said a frustrated Selma City Councilwoman Angela Benjamin. “What are we going to do?”

The council members complained about the city’s Public Works Department, with Youngblood saying that workers were “under orders” not to do certain jobs across the city.

“This has now become a public safety issue all across our city,” Benjamin said.

Elsewhere, Thomas complained of overgrown lots where grass is now overtaking the sidewalks and a crumbling junkyard that had been cleaned last year once again falling into disrepair.

Further, Thomas noted that concern in Ward 7 is “very strong” as it relates to a growing trash problem in the area, Youngblood noted that old mattresses were piling up on the sides of roads as people use stimulus money to purchase new ones and Selma City Councilwoman Miah Jackson lamented an overgrown lot filled with trash behind ArtsRevive.

Elsewhere in the meeting, Selma Police Department (SPD) Chief Kenta Fulford noted that some cities are extending a five-percent raise to first responders during the COVID-19 outbreak – Bowie stated that he plans to bring a proposal before the council to approve such a payment Tuesday.

Selma City Councilmen John Leashore and Michael Johnson opined about extending such a benefit to Public Works Department employees, garnering a snicker from some on the council.