Americus City Council holds agenda-setting meeting Thursday, October 12

Published 4:43 pm Friday, October 13, 2023

AMERICUS – The Americus City Council (ACC) held its monthly agenda-setting meeting on Thursday, October 12.

Early in the meeting, Council Member Kelvin Pless introduced Larry Taylor as the Honorary Council Member for the month of October. Later on in the meeting, City Manager Diadra Powell, along with Sierra Harvey, made a request to the ACC to consider approving the network switch updates, the firewall updates and the replacement of two servers with Neo’s. Harvey stated that the firewall quotes were $4,876.53 and the quote for the network upgrade is $26,005.04 and the server quote is a little over $29,000.00. Diadra Powell stated that it is a budgeted item and that it is part of the city’s capital improvement plan when it comes to technology.

Americus Mayor Lee Kinnamon asked if there were any more questions or comments. Being that there were none, he asked the city clerk to move the item to consent, which means that it will be part of the agenda at next week’s meeting and will be voted on.

The next item to discuss was an amendment to Chapter 15 of the Personal Policies Ordinance. The purpose of this agenda item is to propose and seek approval to amend Chapter 15 of the Personal Policies Ordinance of the City of Americus related to “Employee Development” by adding a new Chapter 15, section six, which is related to employment evaluation od department heads.

Ola Terrell-Jordan, the city’s HR Director, stated that this crucial amendment will help advance transparency, accountability and overall efficiency within the city’s municipal operations. “It is imperative that we establish a structured framework while establishing the performance of our department heads and senior leaders ensuring that they consistently meet the high standards expected by our community,” Terrell-Jordan said. “Your support in advancing this amendment will contribute to the continued progress and success of this great city.”

Mayor Kinnamon stated that there would be a first reading on October 19 and that they would suspend the rules for the second meeting and would then have an up or down vote.

The ACC also heard another request from Terrell-Jordan. This request was for a reclassification of Administrative Assistant III position to HR Generalist. The purpose of this agenda item is to recommend and request the approval to reclassify the position of Administrative Assistant III to an HR Generalist. According to Terrell-Jordan, this position became vacant on March 1, 2023. “Since the position became vacant on March 1 of this year, we have encountered significant challenges in maintaining the essential functions of the department,” Terrell-Jordan said. Terrell-Jordan went on to say that risk management and other critical HR functions require a candidate with specialized human resources experience, which the current classification does not adequately reflect. She went on to urge the ACC to consider reclassifying the position to ensure that the HR office can continue to operate efficiently and effectively.

Terrell-Jordan also stated that the Administrative Assistant III position is currently classified as Grade 110, with the starting salary of $31,118.00. “I’m requesting for it to go to a Grade 116, which is the starting rate of $41,701.00,” Terrell-Jordan said.

There was no objection to move it to consent, which means that it will be on the agenda to vote on at next week’s meeting on October 19.

Terrell-Jordan also requested that the ACC approve her request to make AutoSolve the vendor of choice in doing compensation and classification study for the city. According to Terrell-Jordan, the purpose of this agenda item is to propose and seek approval to proceed with AutoSolve for the execution of the compensation and classification study. She added that even though the fee from AutoSolve to conduct the study is $45,000.00, which is above the city’s budgeted amount of $25,000.00, the funds to meet AutuSolve’s fee are readily available. Terrell-Jordan also added that the study can be completed in six months and that it would take no more than a year at the most. “A relaxed comp study takes about a year,” Terrell Jordan said. “We want to be very aggressive.”

City Manager Diadra Powell told the ACC that although they are asking for a recommendation, it is just going to be a recommendation and it does not guarantee that anybody will get a raise in pay. “We somehow have it confused with we’re going to do this comp study and people are going to get raises,” Powell said. “That is not the case. I just want to make sure that we are clear with the employees that are in the room. That is not what the salary and comp study does.

Being that there were no objections to Mrs. Terrell-Jordan’s request, Mayor Kinnamon asked the city clerk to move the item to consent, meaning that it will be one of the agenda items to be voted on at next week’s meeting on October 19.

The ACC also heard from Roger Willis, who made a rezoning request to have property at 1332 South Lee St. rezoned from NS (Neighborhood Shopping) to R2 (Residential). Willis said that the Sumter County Planning and Zoning Board recommended that it be rezoned. “What they want to do is convert the upstairs, which was a beauty shop, to an apartment. There is already an existing apartment down stairs,” Willis said. “They just want to be in compliance and make it into a duplex.” It was decided by Mary Kinnamon to take up this request at next week’s meeting.

The ACC also heard a request from the city’s head of Public Works, Mike Sistrunk. Sistrunk’s request was to award a bid to fix a collapsed Storm Drain on Church Street to a company called Zane Grace. Sistrunk stated that this project has been in the works for two years now and that two companies had placed bids on the project, with the lowest coming from Zane Grace at $78,364.00. It was decided to move the agenda to consent, which means it will be voted on at next week’s meeting.