GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis City Commissioners met on Tuesday evening to discuss the city manager position and pass ordinances.
Present during the meeting were commissioners Cody Caldwell, Mike Fulks, Mike Brown and Tony Gallagher.
During the meeting, Gallagher made a motion to appoint Bill Jenkins as interim city manager until an official manager is hired or until the November election, when Jenkins will be on the ballot for a city commission office. Gallagher’s motion died due to not receiving a second.
Other commissioners said they received calls of interest for the city manager position. It was discussed that the commission could select an “acting” city manager before hiring an interim city manager. Current City Manager Ted Lozier, whose last day is Friday (today), said he could propose names for possible acting city manager candidates.
Currently, Lozier has Ronnie Lynch perform duties as the acting city manager when Lozier is unavailable. Commissioners discussed having Lynch continue those duties until hiring an interim city manager. A motion was unanimously passed to make Lynch the acting city manager until further notice.
During a recent special meeting to discuss the position, the topic of holding executive sessions was brought up, with a resident stating it was against the city’s charter. During Tuesday’s meeting, members of the commission and city officials said that was an “opinion” and the commission has the ability to decide when to enter an executive session.
Section 9, titled “Meetings,” of the City of Gallipolis Charter states “All meetings of the City Commission shall be public, and any citizen shall have access to the minutes and records thereof at all reasonable hours. The Commission shall determine its own rules and order of business, and shall keep a journal of its proceedings.” It is unclear which specific section was being referenced during the special meeting last week.
Commissioners had first readings of three ordinances during the meeting. Ordinance 2021-22 to amend an ordinance for mobile food vending died after not receiving a second during the meeting. City Solicitor Brynn Noe said if there were suggested changes to the ordinance, commissioners could make those notes.
The first reading of Ordinance 2021-20 for paid holidays for appointed officials passed unanimously and will move to a second reading at the next meeting.
The first reading of Ordinance 2021-21, authorizing virtual meetings and attendance passed unanimously and will also move to a second reading at the next meeting.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Lozier updated commissioners on the municipal pool, stating the pool will now be open on Wednesdays due to hiring more employees.
Lozier told commissioners the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) requested the city provide a perpetual easement for right-of-way on the property near the Route 588 road slip. Currently, for the duration of the project, ODOT has a “right of entry” on the property. ODOT will soon close out the project, but requested the easement for any work that may need completed in the future. No action was taken.
During a meeting last month, Lozier said he wanted to make adjustments to wages for city employees. Lozier said he hopes there is an ordinance at the next meeting for commissioners to vote on. A potential proposal will allow a “premium pay,” which can be removed at a later date, to give employees more pay from American Rescue Plan funding. Lozier said it is unclear how much funding the city will receive through the plan at this time.
A city landlord spoke to the commission about delinquent water bills. Commissioner Caldwell said an ordinance is in place to make bills from the water department the responsibility of the property owner, not occupant. The landlord said she contacted the city to request the water be shut off when her tenant reportedly did not pay the bill. The bill is four months overdue, according to the landlord. Lozier said the department gave notice to the occupant and the water was shut off three days later, however, it was allegedly “tampered with” and the water was reportedly turned back on by someone other than the city’s water department. Lozier noted the city continues to work on a program to replace some meters each year that can not be turned on or off without access by the water department.
Commissioner Caldwell said he received notice from a resident on Route 141 about sediment washing down the hill after rain. It is unclear if a pipe or drain needs cleaned or if the issue is due to erosion.
Commissioner Brown asked about ordinances for throwing candy at parades. Commissioners said the ordinances state candy has to be handed out and not thrown from vehicles during parades in the city.
Brown said he received a question from a resident about pit bulls in the city. Noe said there are two addresses currently pending for the police department to look at pit bulls. The address was noted.
The next meeting of the Gallipolis City Commission is set for Tuesday, July 20 at 6 p.m.
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Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.