Special Called Meeting Minutes 09-08-2023
CITY OF SOUTHSIDE
COUNTY OF ETOWAH
STATE OF ALABAMA
The City Council of the City of Southside convened for a special called council meeting at the Southside City Hall on Friday September 8,2023. Prior notice of this meeting was given in compliance with Resolution No. 0-035-2005 of the City of Southside, Alabama and the Alabama Open Meetings Act. Mayor Dana Snyder called the meeting to order at 5:01 p.m. with John Hatley leading in prayer.
The following council members were present: Mayor Dana Snyder, Council Members: Keith Clay, John Hatley, Don Steward Joseph Hutchins and Genny Ball. With a quorum being present the meeting was opened for the transaction of business.
Mayor Snyder stated that the purpose of this special called meeting was to discuss the potential hire of a police chief and salary. She explained that the City of Southside had received 53 resumes, 13 of which completed the application packet. There was an outside firm hired to conduct the interview process to maintain an impartial, unbiased screening process. Of the 13 application packets, there were 10 initial interviews conducted, with the top 3 candidates presented for a second interview. Second interviews of all three candidates were conducted by: Mayor Dana Snyder, and Councilman Keith Clay. Councilman Don Steward participated in two of the interviews of the top three candidates, and Councilman Joseph Hutchins participated in the one interview that Councilman Steward was unable to attend.
The mayor stated that all of the members of the mayor and council panel conducting the interviews were in unanimous agreement on which candidate was best-suited to fill the position of Chief of Police for the City of Southside. Mayor Snyder stated that the preferred candidate has a bachelor’s degree in Justice and Public Safety, a master’s degree in criminal justice, extensive experience in law enforcement, and currently supervises 60 staff members. The mayor stated that this candidate was familiar with the grant-writing process, and projecting 3- and 5-year budgets, and has extensive experience with the SRO program. Mayor Snyder also stated that the candidate had already familiarized himself with the City of Southside, and Etowah County, and already knew names and positions of area officials. She stated that he was very forthcoming in his interview about his plan of action to get to know the existing staff at the City of Southside Police Department, find out their individual and departmental needs and develop a plan for a successful department.
Mayor Snyder then stated that they had discussed the salary for the Police Chief in the work session, and the council had been given copies of the salary numbers for the highest-paid employee in the police department. (Name redacted), and if you take in account the raise the police department was recently given, the gross pay is on average between $76,000 and $78,000 per year. The mayor stated that she believes that if you hire a police chief to take on the responsibility and leadership role for the entire department, a problem is created if you do not hire a police chief for a considerable amount more than the highest paid person in the department, and she feels that a good number would be $10,000 more per year than the highest paid person in the department. The mayor then stated that the opinion of some council members in the work session was that the overtime portion of the highest paid employee should not factor into the salary equation. Mayor Snyder pointed out that the salary example given to the council was compiled on only the highest paid employee, due to request for the special meeting being on such short notice, and the overtime addition is not limited to only the highest paid employee, but very nearly department wide.
The mayor then stated that the purpose of this special-called council meeting was to discuss what salary to offer this candidate. Councilman Joseph Hutchins inquired if the Mayor had a figure in mind, Mayor Snyder responded that she would like to offer the candidate at least step 13 on the current City of Southside Police Department Pay Scale which is $79,206.40. She then stated that the highest paid person in the department for this coming year would make at least $76,000.00 (including overtime). The mayor responded to a comment that overtime is not guaranteed, stating that overtime here is pretty constant.
Councilman Keith Clay stated that the council had already been over all this information in the work session, that the highest paid person had to work a lot of overtime to reach the income amount for the year, and he proposed an offer to the candidate of step 9 on the current City of Southside Police Department Pay Scale, which is $71,760.00. Councilman Clay stated that this amount is in line with cities with comparable population to the City of Southside, which have higher budgets than the City of Southside. Councilman Don Steward stated that his discussion was that he was in favor of offering the candidate between steps 11-13 on the current City of Southside Pay Scale for the Police Department, this would keep the salary in the 70 thousand range, and in the same range as the rest of the county, he also feels that the City of Southside’s budget can handle this range. Councilwoman Genny Ball says she thinks the salary offer should be step 11 or 12 on the City of Southside Police Department Pay Scale; this would give the Chief room to be given a raise in the future.
There was discussion of a possibility of two different motions being made at this time; one by Mayor Snyder to offer step 13, and one by Councilman Clay to offer step 9. Councilman Hutchins pointed out that there could not be 2 motions on the floor at the same time, at which time Mayor Snyder withdrew her motion. Councilman John Hatley inquired if there was now a motion on the floor, Councilman Clay’s motion was still on the floor, Councilman Hatley provided a second to the motion. Roll Call Vote was K. Clay: YES, Mayor Snyder: NO, J. Hatley: YES, G. Ball: NO, J. Hutchins: NO, D. Steward: NO, the motion did not carry
Joseph Hutchins then made a motion to offer the candidate step 11 as a compromise, a second of the motion was provided by Genny Ball. Roll Call Vote: Mayor Snyder: NO, K. Clay: NO, J. Hatley: NO, D. Steward: YES, J. Hutchins: YES, G. Ball: YES, the motion did not carry.
There was discussion of possibly going with what was budgeted, but there is no approved budget for FY 2023-2024 yet. Councilman Steward pointed out that the new budget does not go into effect until October.
Councilman Hutchins asked if the council would be in approval of offering the candidate step 10 on the City of Southside Police Department Pay Scale, he stated that this figure was within $2000.00 of the step 9 proposed., he stated that they needed to come to an agreement on something to offer the candidate.
A motion to offer the candidate step 10 on the City of Southside Police Department Pay Scale was made by Joseph Hutchins. Genny Ball provided a second. Roll Call Vote: K. Clay: NO, J. Hatley: NO, D. Steward: YES, J. Hutchins: YES, G. Ball: YES, Mayor Snyder: NO. The motion did not carry
Councilman Hutchins then made a motion to offer the candidate step 9 on the City of Southside Police Department Pay Scale in order to have something to be able to make the offer. At this point there was discussion of possibly adjourning the meeting and waiting until the regular scheduled Tuesday night council meeting to decide on an offer. There was discussion on the legality of that possibility, and suggestion that the City Attorney needed to be consulted. Councilman Steward then stated that he would not be in attendance at Tuesday’s regular scheduled council meeting.
Don Steward made a motion to adjourn. John Hatley provided a second to the motion.
A resident who was in attendance, asked if a motion could be left on the table. There were several questions and concerns voiced from residents in attendance, which were answered by the mayor and council. Shortly thereafter, City Attorney, Richard Rhea returned a call to councilman Don Steward’s cell phone. At which time it was determined that the meeting could be reconvened. At which time Councilman Hutchins made a motion to reconsider Councilman Clay’s previous motion to offer the candidate step 9 on the City of Southside Police Department Pay Scale. A second of the motion to reconsider was made by John Hatley. Roll Call Vote: K. Clay: YES, J. Hatley: YES, J. Hutchins: YES, G. Ball: YES, D. Steward: NO, Mayor Snyder: NO The mayor declared the motion passed.
At this time a motion to adjourn was made by Joseph Hutchins. The motion was seconded by John Hatley. The meeting was adjourned at 6:56 P.M.
Dana Snyder, Mayor
Cindy Beshears, Acting City Clerk