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Councilmen frustrated with Mayor

A pair of Greenwood City Council members expressed frustration Monday for having been left out of the loop on a new hire’s pay rate.

Brooke Holland was recently hired by Mayor Del Gabbard to replace Sandra Traylor, who retired last week. Holland was brought in at a lower rate of pay than Traylor. Councilman Lance Terry said he was unaware of the new hire’s pay rate.

“To clear it up, we don’t want to get rid of anybody,” Terry said. “I just wanted to know. It doesn’t matter that he hired her. It’s just the fact of not knowing what we’re paying.”

“You can hire whoever you want in that position,” Councilman A.C. Brown told the mayor. “But as far as the financial part, I think it should still be presented to us to discuss it, especially in light of the budget shortfall we have each and every month.”

City Attorney Mike Hamby said the mayor broke no laws.

“Legally, once you pass the budget and appropriate that amount,” Hamby told councilmen, “he has discretion to spend up to that amount. So legally, he didn’t do anything inappropriate.’”

In other business, the council approved on the second of three readings an ordinance establishing commercial development guidelines on the condition that fire hydrant regulations be added to the guidelines for the next reading.

“As you all know,” Planning Director Sonny Bell said, “this is a pretty important ordinance we’re looking at, very complex.”

The guidelines, which garnered unanimous approval by the City Council, are described in the ordinance as a “reference framework to assist an applicant in understanding the city’s goals and objectives for high quality development.”

At nearly 30 pages, the guidelines touch upon categories that include building materials, color palettes and design elements among many others.

A list of “undesirable elements” includes highly reflective surfaces, metal siding on the main facade, plastic siding, square “boxlike” structures and large, out-of-scale signs with “flashy colors.”

According to the ordinance, the new guidelines “are general and may be interpreted with some flexibility in their application to specific projects.”

“Non-compliance to these guidelines may be grounds for denial of a project,” the ordinance states.

Also Monday, Police Chief Will Dawson reported that in April, his department responded to 236 calls, issued 78 citations and arrested 49 people. They responded to 18 motor vehicle accidents and opened 29 new criminal cases. The City of Greenwood’s Code Enforcement department received 15 calls last month about unkept yards.

The Parks Commission reported that the Bell Park Pavilion was again booked all month. Mansfield even held their prom at the Pavilion. Doug Kinslow reported that there are now 13 hanging baskets around Town Square, one for each victim of the April 19 tornado that devastated Greenwood 45 years ago. With the six baskets around the clock tower, the total becomes 19, symbolizing April 19.

Discussion was also made about the new fence around Memorial Park. City Council members expressed a desire to have the fence finished before the FreedomFest celebration, but it was ultimately decided to wait until after the vote for the County 1% sales tax has passed. Without that tax, many City programs could be in jeopardy. Early voting runs through May 13.

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