by Danny Wade
The Humboldt City Board made quick work of a short agenda during the July 23 meeting. The 15-minute meeting went pretty smoothly.
As the meeting began, Mayor Marvin Sikes offered an apology to the board for losing his cool during the prior board meeting. He said things got a little heated during their discussion and he got frustrated. He said that’s not the way a mayor should act. He asked them to accept his apology and move forward, and they did.
One agenda item, the resignation of a police officer, had more discussion than all other agenda items combined.
Humboldt Police Chief Reynard Buchanan submitted the resignation letter from Ptl. Charles Cox. In the letter, Cox stated his resignation was for personal reasons. He also thanked the city for the opportunity to serve.
Alderman Leon McNeal asked Chief Buchanan how long Cox had been on the Humboldt Police Department.
Buchanan said he wasn’t exactly sure but thought it was around six or seven years. The chief noted Cox had been the K-9 officer.
Alderman Don Graves asked why are they leaving, to both Chief Buchanan and Fire Chief Chester Owens. He noted both departments seem to have quite a bit of turnover. Graves asked if it was about money.
Buchanan replied, “The grass is greener.” He noted he has been with the department for 20 years and doesn’t think the grass is greener but some of those police officers that resign, think there are bigger and better jobs out there.
Chief Owens said a lot of his men that resigned have left to take higher paying jobs, particularly in Jackson.
McNeal thanked Chief Owens for taking time to speak with Mayor Sikes to talk about the resignations. Then McNeal said he and Alderlady Donna Johnson met with the chief, and then the chief and mayor met again. McNeal thanked the mayor and the chief for working together on the recent resignations and working to keep others from leaving.
“We need to do something to retain our employees,” Graves said.
“I agree with you Mr. Graves,” McNeal replied.
More discussion between Graves and McNeal continued about possibly giving police and firemen more money, when it was brought to their attention that the city cannot give them a raise without giving all city employees a raise.
Mayor Sikes stepped in and said, “We’re getting in the weeds. Let’s get back on topic—back on the agenda.”
He called for a vote on Cox’s resignation, which passed unanimously.
The last item on the agenda was Mayor Sikes recommendation to reappoint Laurie Gamble to the Humboldt Industrial Development Board for another 4-year term. The mayor said she’s done a good job and would like to continue serving on the board.
The board unanimously approved reappointing Gamble to serve on the board.