Okolona hires summer parks director

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Aldermen define duties and requirements


By Floyd Ingram

Chickasaw Journal


OKOLONA – Aldermen hired Jennifer Thomas as Okolona Parks and Recreation for 2014 and discussed ways to make the post more effective and provide more services.

Thomas will be a contract worker and serve the community from late spring to early fall.

“We do this every year and get someone who will handle this for the summer,” said Okolona Mayor Louise Floyd-Cole. “It has worked well in the past. We don’t pay a whole lot and we really do ask for a whole lot.”

Ward 5 Alderman Mary Gates said she had been told the lifeguards at the city pool last year were not certified and for liability reasons she urged the city to make sure that didn’t happen this year.

“I don’t think that happened,” said Ward 3 Alderman Eldridge Lowe. “A person in that position must be certified. You can hear a lot of things, but I don’t think that happened and I certainly didn’t know about it.”

Lowe asked the Mayor if she recommended Thomas and he then made the motion to hire her. The vote was 5-1 with Gates opposed to the hire.

Cole offered to meet with Gates and Thomas to hammer out a list of duties and programs for the summer.

“This is a contract position and we can spell out what we want that worker to do,” said Cole. “This should be something we can remedy in a quick meeting.”

In other business:

• The board was approached by Stanley Cooperwood seeking to open a lounge in Okolona. City Attorney Gene Barton said the city has a packet for anyone wanting to open a business in the city and if the department heads sign the appropriate forms and all fees are paid, a certificate of occupancy will be issued.

Barton asked Cooperwood to go by City Hall during regular business hours to pick up a packet.

• The city approved a grant proposal to the Mississippi Development Association seeking state and federal money to rehabilitate houses.

“This program, if you qualify, can address house in our area in bad need of repair,” said Cole. “If the program is managed properly and, again if the person qualifies, they can almost get a new home with this program.”

Cole said the grant seeks to renovate up to five homes in Okolona. The program is currently taking applications.

• Aldermen changed wording in the city’s animal control ordinance allowing the city animal control officer to set the cost of fines and collect those fines, allowing an animal picked up by the city to be released to the owner.

• The city discussed travel expenses for more than 30-minutes.

Place 4 Alderman Regina Pickens said she was very concerned with travel expenses and didn’t feel City Clerk Kim Collins need to attend the Mississippi Municipal League Mid-Winter Conference since she had just returned from a city clerk’s conference.

A motion to limit city travel to elected city officials and the city attorney failed on a 4-2 vote with Pickens and Gates supporting the measure.

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