MINUTES
COUNCIL OF COLUMBUS, GEORGIA
SPECIAL CALLED MEETING
JANUARY 7, 2014

The regular meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia was called to order at 5:33 P.M., Tuesday, January 7, 2014, in the Council Chambers, Government Center, Columbus, Georgia. Honorable Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor presiding.
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PRESENT: Present other than Mayor Tomlinson and Mayor Pro Tem Evelyn Turner Pugh were Councilors R. Gary Allen, Jerry “Pops” Barnes, Mike Baker, Glenn Davis, Berry Henderson, Charles E. McDaniel, Jr. and Judy W. Thomas. Councilor Bruce Huff arrived at 5:39 p.m. Councilor Evelyn Woodson arrived at 5:49 p.m. City Manager Isaiah Hugley, City Attorney Clifton Fay, Clerk of Council Tiny B. Washington and Deputy Clerk of Council Sandra Davis were also present.
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ABSENT: No one was absent.
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COLD WEATHER CONDITIONS: Mayor Tomlinson thanked the Emergency Management employees and the Director Mr. Riley Land for assuring that the roads are safe and assisting those that are most in need to have safe housing. She provided a list of resources that are available to the homeless and others that are housing insecure. She also reminded everyone to take precaution with outdoor pets.
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AUBURN TIGERS: Mayor Tomlinson congratulated the Auburn University Tigers on their good season and commented on the football game and their efforts.
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INVOCATION: Offered by Rev. Ralph Huling- Pastor of St. James Baptist Church.
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PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Led by Mayor Tomlinson.
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MAYOR’S AGENDA:

PROCLAMATION:

With members of the Mayor’s Commission on Unity, Diversity and Prosperity standing before the members of Council, Mayor Tomlinson read her proclamation in its entirety proclaiming the month of January 2014 as Unity Month in Columbus, Georgia.
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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. COMMEMORATIVE EVENTS:

Mayor Tomlinson announced the “MLK Fun Run” that would take place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and sponsored by the Courier-Eco Latino Newspaper. Also, there would be a health screening at the A. J. McClung YMCA.

She also announced that the city would be hosting “The Dream Lives Festival” sponsored by the Mayor’s Commission on Unity, Diversity and Prosperity to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., starting at noon, on January 18, 2014. Also, there would be a service at Metropolitan Baptist Church, on Monday, January 20, 2014, located on 5th Avenue starting at noon and Rev. Crocker is inviting everyone to join them in this annual event. The newspaper would be covering some other events that have not been mentioned.
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WITH GLORIA WESTON-SMART AND HER SUPPORTERS STANDING AT THE COUNCIL TABLE, THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION WAS READ IN ITS ENTIRETY BY COUNCILOR HENDERSON AND ADOPTED BY THE COUNCIL:

A Resolution (1-14) – Commending Gloria Weston-Smart, Executive Director of Keep Columbus Beautiful, upon being named as the Executive Director of the Year by the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation. Councilor Henderson moved its adoption. Seconded by Councilor Baker and carried unanimously by those nine members present with Councilor Allen being absent for the vote.
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THE FOLLOWING ELEVEN RESOLUTIONS EXPRESSING APPRECIATION TO RETIREES WERE SUBMITTED AND THE CAPTIONS READ FOR EACH BY MAYOR PRO TEM TURNER PUGH WERE ADOPTED UPON A SINGLE MOTION MADE BY MAYOR PRO TEM TURNER PUGH AND SECONDED BY COUNCILOR WOODSON AND CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY BY THOSE EIGHT MEMBERS PRESENT WITH COUNCILORS ALLEN AND HUFF BEING ABSENT FOR THE VOTE:

A Resolution (2-14) - Expressing appreciation to Honorable John D. Allen upon his retirement with Superior Court after 27 years of service.

A Resolution (3-14) - Expressing appreciation to Mr. Henry L. Brooks, upon his retirement with the Parks & Recreation/Parks Services Division after 36 years of service.

A Resolution (4-14) - Expressing appreciation to Mr. Donald R. Elmore, upon his retirement with the Public Works/Facilities Maintenance Division after over 21 years of service.

A Resolution (5-14) - Expressing appreciation to Mr. Roger D. Gore, upon his retirement with the Engineering/Traffic Division after 6 years of service.

A Resolution (6-14) - Expressing appreciation to Mr. Ronnie J. Griffin, upon his retirement with the Columbus Police Department after over 43 years of service.

A Resolution (7-14) - Expressing appreciation to Mr. Vincent Lockhart, Sr., upon his retirement with the Columbus Police Department after over 26 years of service.

A Resolution (8-14) - Expressing appreciation to Mr. Frank N. Massa III, upon his retirement with the Columbus Police Department after 34 years of service.

A Resolution (9-14) - Expressing appreciation to Mr. Robert M. Oliver, upon his retirement with the Columbus Police Department after over 29 years of service.

A Resolution (10-14) - Expressing appreciation to Ms. Lenora M. Smith, upon her retirement with the Community Reinvestment Department after over 18 years of service.

A Resolution (11-14) - Expressing appreciation to Mrs. Betty J. Hobbs, upon her retirement with the Parks & Recreation/Parks Services Division after 28 years of service.

A Resolution (12-14) - Expressing appreciation to Mr. Lee R. Spencer, upon his retirement with the Fire and EMS Department after 29 years of service.
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THE FOLLOWING THREE RESOLUTIONS EXPRESSING CONDOLENCES WERE SUBMITTED AND THE CAPTIONS READ FOR EACH BY MAYOR PRO TEM TURNER PUGH WERE ADOPTED UPON A SINGLE MOTION MADE BY MAYOR PRO TEM TURNER PUGH AND SECONDED BY COUNCILOR WOODSON AND CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY BY THOSE EIGHT MEMBERS PRESENT WITH COUNCILORS ALLEN AND HUFF BEING ABSENT FOR THE VOTE:

A Resolution (13-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Jackey L. Long, employee with the Columbus Police Department who passed away on July 8, 2013.

A Resolution (14-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Thomas “Keith” Slay, employee with the Columbus Police Department who passed away on July 30, 2013.

A Resolution (15-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Vincent G. Pasko, employee with the Columbus Police Department who passed away on August 26, 2013.
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THE FOLLOWING FOURTEEN RESOLUTIONS ALSO EXPRESSING CONDOLENCES WERE SUBMITTED AS LISTED WITH MAYOR PRO TEM TURNER PUGH READING THE CAPTIONS FOR EACH WERE THEN ADOPTED UPON A SINGLE MOTION MADE BY MAYOR PRO TEM TURNER PUGH AND SECONDED BY COUNCILOR WOODSON AND CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY BY THOSE NINE MEMBERS PRESENT WITH COUNCILOR HUFF BEING ABSENT FOR THE VOTE:

A Resolution (16-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Orvel “Lynn” Joiner, former employee with the Columbus Police Department who passed away on September 20, 2013.

A Resolution (17-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Moses Robinson Jr., former employee with the Public Works Department who passed away on September 15, 2013.

A Resolution (18-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Herbert L. Kirkland, former employee with the Columbus Police Department who passed away on September 26, 2013.

A Resolution (19-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Willard W. Ivey, former employee with the Muscogee County Prison passed away on October 13, 2013.

A Resolution (20-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Richard W. Kjos, former employee with the Columbus Police Department who passed away on October 14, 2013.

A Resolution (21-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Rabon W. Loftin, former employee with the Fire Department who passed away on September 25, 2013.

A Resolution (22-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Elba Workman, former employee with the Public Works Department who passed away on October 5, 2013.

A Resolution (23-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Luther O. Miller, former employee with the Public Works Department who passed away on October 20, 2013.

A Resolution (24-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mrs. Bobbie J. Bell, former employee with the Information Technology Department who passed away on September 30, 2013.

A Resolution (25-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mrs. Edith M. Claiborne, former employee with the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Department who passed away on November 2, 2013.

A Resolution (26-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. William E. Ash, former employee with the Muscogee County Prison who passed away on November 11, 2013.

A Resolution (27-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Ms. Gloria J. Bigham, former employee with the Elections & Registration Department who passed away on November 17, 2013.

A Resolution (28-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Jesse Mitchell III, former employee with the Bull Creek Golf Course who passed away on December 7, 2013.

A Resolution (29-14) - Conveying condolences to the family of Mr. Jeffery L. Myers, former employee with the Columbus Police Department who passed away on December 8, 2013.
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COOPERATIVE EXTENSION ANNUAL REPORT:

City Manager Hugley noted that Ms. Jennifer Davidson with the Cooperative Extension Office passed around the Council table the Cooperative Extension Annual Report.
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THE FOLLOWING ADD-ON RESOLUTION WAS SUBMITTED AND EXPLAINED BY CITY MANAGER HUGLEY AND APPROVED BY THE COUNIL:

A Resolution (30-14) - Authorizing the acceptance of donations of the “Dream “Lives”, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Event. Councilor Henderson moved its adoption. Seconded by Councilor Baker and carried unanimously by those ten members present. (Councilor Huff was absent for the vote but upon returning to his seat requested that his vote be cast in the affirmative.)
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THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION WAS ALSO SUBMITTED AND EXPLAINED BY CITY MANAGER HUGLEY AND APPROVED BY THE COUNIL:

A Resolution (31-14) - Authorizing the hiring of a new employee above the Step “C” of the Pay Grade 23 for the Chief Deputy in the Marshal’s Office. Councilor Barnes moved its adoption. Seconded by Councilor Woodson and carried unanimously by those ten members present. (Councilor Huff was absent for the vote but upon returning to his seat requested that his vote be cast in the affirmative.)
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CCG HEALTHCARE DISCUSSION:

City Manager Hugley advised that this is the first of three meetings on the healthcare discussion. The next meetings are as follows: January 21, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. and January 28, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

Finance Director Pam Hodge came forward to offer a power point presentation on the previous revenue trends, the components that impact the revenue stream, as well as, the healthcare fund. She spoke of the slow growth of the digest and the decline of sales tax. She noted that since FY08 the city’s expenditures have exceeded the revenues for that year. She added that although there was a conscience decision each budget cycle to use reserves to supplement the budget process, the reserves can no longer be depleted any further. The Council adopted the goal for fund balance of 90 days and a minimum of 60 days.

Councilor Thomas asked about the calculation to include the fund balance in the OLOST when it began in 2009 since it is only being presented in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Finance Director Hodge pointed out that she would include it in the chart presented for the next meeting. She noted that there are funds segregated for a purpose and cannot be co-mingled; there are fund restrictions on every revenue that we collect.

She provided an estimation of the FY15 General Fund Projections that show a $6.5 million deficit. She then outlined some steps that are being taken to avoid job loss or an impact on services.
When Finance Director Hodge shared that 2/3 of employees will see either a savings, no change or less than $1.50 impact to their bi-weekly pay check for their premiums, Councilor Huff asked for the number of employees that represent the 1/3 that would be impacted.

Councilor Thomas asked for the figure just for the healthcare fund deficit instead of the entire deficit of $6.5 million.

Councilor Allen asked for some information on when the city would begin realizing the savings for employees enrolling in the Health & Wellness Center. Human Resources Director Reather Hollowell advised that we need operations for at least a twelve months period to be able to determine the actual savings with the opening date being May 1, 2013. She added that 533 employees are currently enrolled and the proposal to realize a savings was projected for 1,200 employees to be enrolled.

DEPARTMENT HEAD PRESENTATIONS:

After the financial presentation, department heads came forward to discuss the impact of further potential reductions to their budgets to include cuts in personnel that would lead to cuts in programs and services. Some department heads offered suggestions of cost saving measures and/or fee increases and are listed below: Public Works Director- Pat Biegler, Department of Parks & Recreation Director Dr. James Worsley.

Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh requested a report that shows how many vacant positions that have been vacant for six months or more and the financial impact of those positions.

Muscogee County Prison Warden Dwight Hamrick maintained that he would not be able to make any additional cuts and made reference to equipment and other items that need replacing at the Muscogee County Prison.

In conclusion, the remaining department heads listed to appear before the members of Council approached the rostrum to discuss the impact of further budget cuts and are listed as follows: Engineering Director Donna Newman, Department of Fire & EMS Chief Jeff Meyers and Planning Department Director Rick Jones.


EMPLOYEE FEEDBACK:

The following employees came forward to discuss their concerns with pay, pose questions and provide input on the Health & Wellness Center and are listed below:
Mr. Bill Thornton- Columbus Police Department, Ms. Wendy Thornton- Columbus Police Department,

Human Resources Director Reather Hollowell was asked to come forward to address specific concerns with the different healthcare plans and individual experiences with transitioning to the Health & Wellness Center.

Councilor Woodson suggested enlarging the charts that display the current and proposed healthcare plans for the employees to have a visual of the benefit levels and active monthly employee contributions comparisons.



Mr. Randy Robertson- Representing the Fraternal Order of Police, made reference to a report that was provided to the Council where employees submitted suggestions on potential cost saving measures. He explained that city employees recognize that healthcare cost are rising and they would have to pay more. He then commented on the healthcare fund deficit. (A copy was provided to be filed for the record.)

In conclusion, he encouraged the members of Council to read the report that was submitted that contains recommendations from employees. Mayor Tomlinson assured that a written response to the report would be provided. She noted that the Administrations currently does have strategic planning and priority budgeting within departments and is taken into consideration during the budget process.

After some final comments by Mr. Robertson, Mayor Tomlinson also encouraged employees to forward suggestions on how to reduce the city’s budget, because cost benefits analysis are conducted on all recommendations.

Mayor Tomlinson explained that even with the four systemic deficit problems on the table if they were all approved, it would only be $4.5 million dollars with there being a $2 million shortfall; therefore, we have a long way to go before we can assure the citizens there would not be jobs or services impact.

Ms. Linda Lunsford- Workforce Investment Act, was the final employee to approached the rostrum to speak. Human Resources Director Hollowell then responded to the concern raised involving post 65-year-old employees or dependents as it relates to the Health & Wellness Center. She briefly explained that pre 65 retirees can use the Health & Wellness Center; however, post 65 retirees are not able to be a patient at the Health & Wellness Center due to the fully funded Medicare Advantage Plan; there are no savings to the city in allowing retirees over the age of 65 years of age to have access to the Health & Wellness Center.
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NOTE: Councilor McDaniel left the meeting during this portion of the proceedings with the time being 8:15 p.m.
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Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh asked Human Resources Hollowell to provide a response to if the retiree is 65 years of age or older but the spouse is not, would the spouse be eligible to be a part of the Health & Wellness Center.

Councilor Thomas requested the post 65 retirees that visit the Health & Wellness Center to have those retirees that have questions or concerns be referred to the Human Resources Department.

After some additional discussions regarding the healthcare fund and the cost involved, this matter was concluded.
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EXECUTIVE SESSION:

Mayor Tomlinson called attention to the earlier request to go into executive session to discuss litigation. Mayor Pro Tem Turner Pugh moved to go into executive session to discuss a litigation matter. Seconded by Councilor Woodson and carried unanimously by those eight members present with Councilors Huff and McDaniel being absent for the vote.

At 8:52 p.m., the Council adjourned its regular meeting to go into executive session to discuss litigation. At 8:57 p.m., the regular meeting was reconvened and Mayor Tomlinson announced that the Council did meet in executive session to discuss litigation, but no votes were taken.
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With there being no other business to come before this Council, Councilor Barnes made a motion to adjourn. Seconded by Councilor Woodson and carried unanimously by those nine members present with Councilor McDaniel being absent for the vote with the time being 8:57 p.m.





Sandra T. Davis, CDMC
Deputy Clerk of Council
Council of Columbus, Georgia