Aldermen voted to specify why city employees are going to seminars, annual meetings and training anywhere outside the city limits.
The motion was made by Ward 3 Alderman Eldridge Lowe and second by Ward 6 Alderman Anthony Floyd. The vote was unanimous.
The vote came after more than 20-minutes of discussion between Ward 4 Alderman Regina Pickens and Okolona Mayor Louise Floyd-Cole.
Cole had initially said the city did not need to pay for Picken’s trip to a seminar recently.
Cole was also slated to attend the meeting, drove to the meeting and Pickens said she did not attend any meetings. Cole said she paid for that trip with her own money.
“We vote on the meetings we attend,” said Cole. “No city alderman or department head goes to a trip without approval.”
Pickens said her concern was not legitimate trips at the city expense, but she was concerned about city employees who traveled to various seminars with no apparent need for training or certification.
“Why does the city send all these people to all these meetings?” said Pickens. “Until I went, no one had to specify why they went. I don’t think that was fair and I would like to see my expenses paid.”
In making his motion, Lowe said the city needed to spread its policy on board minutes and then stick to it. He also suggested the city pay Pickens’ expense.
“Let’s chalk this up as a learning experience and move on,” said Lowe. “Now that everyone has heard the rules, we need to stick with it.”
Aldermen later approved Okolona Police Chief Willie Moore to travel to Biloxi to attend the 2014 Mississippi Chief of Police Training and Conference June 16-20.
In other business:
• Aldermen heard from Dale Lacey concerning the city’s animal control ordinance.
• The city heard from Karen Stewart concerning her water bill.
• The board heard from Dorothy Gilliam concerning closing hours.
• The board approved grievance hearings for Fernando Moore and Patricia Brim-Wright. The hearing will be part of the regular May city board meeting.
• The city approved a regional economic development contract with Three Rivers Planning and Development District.
• The city discussed purchasing a track hoe for the Okolona Electric Department.
• The city discussed purchasing cameras for city patrol cars.