By Crystal Burns
The Rutherford Board of Aldermen approved hiring two interim employees to help fill gaps at City Hall during the town’s Jan. 19 meeting.
Gibson County Trustee Melissa Workman has been hired as interim city recorder while City Recorder Dawn Smith is recovering from an illness. Workman previously served as city recorder in Rutherford and Bradford. She began as interim on Dec. 1 and is working with the town after hours of the trustee’s office. The board didn’t meet in December, so aldermen approved her appointment last week.
“I really appreciate your willingness to come and do this,” Alderman Broeck Horner said.
Mayor Sandy Simpson joked that when she called Workman to ask for help, she didn’t even have to beg. Workman said the circumstances surrounding Simpson’s request made it easy for her to say yes.
Simpson also said that with Smith out of the office, City Clerk Cindy East has taken on more responsibilities and needs time to train with Workman. Finding that time is difficult without another employee at City Hall, so Simpson reached out to Randy Potts, retired city recorder in Greenfield. Potts agreed to work as interim clerk, coming in three days a week, for 120 days if needed.
The board approved Potts’ appointment, which began Jan. 11.
Water increase approved – The board approved the first reading of an ordinance that raises the water rates for the second of three times as mandated by the state. The new rates of minimum charge of $14.26 and $4.20 per thousand gallons over 1,000 gallons are effective March 1 pending approval of the second reading on Feb. 16.
Policies – The board approved an updated personnel policy that Horner and Alderman Annie Edwards worked together on with Dana Deem, the town’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service representative, to complete. The policy replaces all earlier personnel policies.
Workman told the board that the town’s internal control policy should be rewritten. The current policy was approved in 2017 but doesn’t cover the way employees are currently handling administrative duties. Workman said she would contact towns similar to Rutherford for copies of their internal control policy to tailor to Rutherford.
Fire report – Fire Chief Rob Rahm and Water/Sewer Supervisor Eddie Watkins answered the board’s questions about a fire the Rutherford department worked Jan. 10 at the former Karnes & Son Funeral Home on 107 S. Trenton Street. Rahm said the fire, which destroyed the structure, is under investigation, and the TBI has taken the lead. He said it was “no ordinary structure fire,” and the department received assistance from six other agencies. Rahm said homeowners near the structure were “very, very lucky to have minimal damage” to their homes.
The property is owned by Devin Edwards, who is asking anyone with information on the fire to call the Tennessee Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. All calls are confidential, and callers may remain anonymous.
Watkins said that the town’s water system pumped about 213,000 gallons for the fire department. Because the town can account for the water, it isn’t considered water loss, he said.
Mayor’s report – Simpson told the board that Larry Eddings had contacted her about purchasing a parking lot across from the old Kellwood building to build a church. Eddings told her he couldn’t be at the Jan. 19 meeting but would be willing to come to another meeting to share his plans with the board. Aldermen indicated they are unwilling to sell the city-owned land.
The next Rutherford board meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.