Oneonta hires bring city to full strength

The Oneonta City Council brought its public works and police departments to full strength with its most recent hiring of James Arthur Stephens Jr. and Joshua Preston. Stephens, a reported two-tour Iraqi War veteran, joins the police force following the retirement of long-time officer Delane Moon. Municipal maintenance worker Preston adds still more carpentry experience to public works.

Councilors welcomed the pair with city manager Ed Lowe detailing the expertise of public works in the city’s on-going restoration of the old brick church that was acquired last year. Lowe noted the impressive engineering in the church and city employees’ ability to correct some aging deteriorations.

In addition to council praise for the new and retiring employees, members lauded the efforts of Mayor Ross Norris and, particularly, Lowe in obtaining passage of a bill permitting the city to continue alcohol sales. Comments alleged “Oneonta” was the talk of Montgomery and several other communities in obtaining the extremely quick passage and Gov. Robert Bentley’s signature.

While Councilman Hal Blackwood missed the meeting, all other members (Mark Gargus, Tim McNair, Danny Robinson, Tonya Rogers, and Norris) attended the March 24 session. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.