Snead establishes curfew, hears worker complaints

After some questioning and one councilman’s opposition, the Snead Town Council voted to establish a curfew for minors. Over the past few meetings, the council discussed the possibility of setting the curfew. On each occasion, councilman Dale Snead indicated his hesitancy on the proposal.

In the latest round, Snead suggested the council amend the proposal, delaying the beginning time to 11 p.m. rather than 10. Some councilors expressed concern but appeared to have confused the curfew with the previously adopted 10 p.m. closing time for the town park. Police officer Joseph Blackwood questioned Snead as to why a 15- year-old should be out beyond 10 p.m. for reasons not excepted in the ordinance. The council then approved the ordinance with Snead voting against and Mayor Curtis Painter continuing his normal practice of abstaining.

Utilities superintendent Jeff Whited advised the council of worker complaints over weekend rounds responsibilities. Whited reported employees objected to compensation for Saturday and Sunday rounds to check pumps and tanks.

Whited explained that several years earlier, the town had agreed to consider the then two-hour duty as the equivalent of four hours of work. As the town water system expanded, the responsibilities required longer time. Employees have contended they are not receiving appropriate compensation time for the work.

Whited said he was questioned by the national “labor board” over the town prac- tice. The board informed him the town is in violation of federal law on the compensation. Councilors stated the town should follow the law. Whited then broached the subject of compensation for the more than eight years of prior procedures.

Town attorney Brett King, present for an already scheduled executive session, quizzed Whited on how the labor board had become involved. Whited explained that the board had contacted him. King then advised the council to delay any further discussion to the executive session.

One resident asked why the matter should be in executive session, since the issue was already before the body. King responded that the issue involved both “good name and character” and possible “litigation” with the labor board now involved.

Prior to recessing to the executive session, King indicated that the scheduled executive session, which has of late become standard with each regular meeting, would deal with a lawsuit involving a town subdivision. Whited and two utilities employees remained with the council for the first part of the executive session.

Earlier, before agreeing to pay bills, councilman Jack Freeman questioned a re-imbursement for a one-day conference. Freeman computed the town had paid over $920 for the seven-hour class in Hoover. Town clerk Rae Ware later explained that the actual amount was around $750, due to a later correction for a returned check.

Freeman proposed that the town adopt state or federal guidelines for per diem. While other councilors seemed in agreement, no one made a motion for the change.

Resident John Seaton, a speaker at the last several regular council sessions, again asked the status of the town’s effort to get neglected property cleaned. He noted that several offenders had acted but the one nearest him has not.

Ware explained that the post office returned one registered letter “attempted, not known” to the alleged offender Seaton cited. She explained she had since mailed another letter to the last address the town had on file for the owner.

Painter said something would have to be done. He noted ADEM (Alabama Department for Environmental Management) has become involved with its own concerns. Councilor Snead reported he had visited the site and found tires filled with rainwater which constitute a mosquito health hazard. Seaton promised continual revisits until the issue is resolved.

As councilors began to discuss moving bank accounts, Freeman reported he had spoken with one of the local banks over council concerns. He said in looking at the April statement, he found the town had actually earned more than $40 in interest. He said a bank representative assured him that if she saw the town would have to pay, she would let him know.

Based on that assurance, Freeman and others agreed to leave deposits with the local banks rather than move any out of town. He observed that should the town face fee payments, he would be willing to put the matter on the table again.

Ware reported the town had received word from its insurer of receipt of papers involving pending litigation facing the town. She also noted the insurer advised that it does not cover injury to or damage done by any prison inmates working in the town.

Councilors Phillip McHan, Greg Ogles, and Charles Sanders joined Painter, Snead, and Freeman for the July 8 meeting. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the town community center.