Junction council questions expenditures involving former employees

November 14, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

JUNCTION CITY - The City Council questioned spending money on people the city had laid off and the cost of medals for police officers and firefighters who rescued families from a recent apartment fire.

The bills for those expenditures, however, were approved unanimously Thursday. Council member Dewayne Taylor wasn't there for the vote.

The police and fire departments bought $200 worth of medals for police officer Randell Miller, police officer Anthony Pinkston, who had been laid off, Lincoln County Constable Toby Henderson and four firefighters who were injured.

"We're broke, and we're spending $200 on a couple of medals?" Councilman Jimmy Douglas said.

Council member Roberta Zeller said she also thought that was too much to spend on medals. Newly-elected Council member Donnie Goode called the amount "ridiculous."

The council then questioned $44 spent on lunch and $75 on gift certificates for two water department employees who had been laid off.


The lunch was included in an $88 bill from Wal-Mart that was recorded to be for lunch and a toilet repair kit.

Goode wanted to know why a repair kit and lunch cost $88 when a whole new toilet could be bought for that much.

Water clerk Rita Johnson knew about the bill and was at the meeting, but she was there as a resident. She said she couldn't answer the question without being paid for her time there. Johnson used to be paid to come to the meetings, but that was stopped when the City Council realized its budget was $100,000 short.

Council members received their bills on Tuesday afternoon. Johnson said no one asked her about the bill before Thursday's meeting.

Today, Johnson explained that $44 of the $88 bill was spent on lunch. The rest was spent on office supplies. Mayor G.G. Harmon told the employees that they could buy the lunch.

"I think it's done, but we shouldn't do this again," Zeller said.

Council member Connie Vernon asked why it couldn't have been potluck, like other dinners have been.

Harmon also bought $75 gift certificates for the two water employees he laid off.

"I don't agree with the gift certificates," Vernon said. "You don't give people gift certificates because you laid them off."

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