Meridian Star

Local News

July 24, 2013

Council delays vote on CAO again

MERIDIAN —     Following an hour-long closed-door session of the Meridian City Council Council on Tuesday, the council took no action on the approval of an appointment for chief administrative officer.

    Mayor Percy Bland had recommended Goldacker as CAO in a meeting earlier this month when most of the other department head recommendations were discussed and approved. The council previously declined to confirm the appointment because he still has ties to another job.

    Goldacker is retired from Naval Air Station Meridian, but is still employed as a civilian military contractor.

    The executive discussion Tuesday during which Goldacker's job was discussed also included another personnel matter, but neither item resulted in action by the council, according to Dr. George Thomas, Ward 1 Councilman and council president. Neither Thomas nor Bland would discuss the reasons for delaying the confirmation Tuesday. City Attorney Michael Goggans said Goldacker is the Acting CAO. He has been nominated, but not confirmed.

    Bland's nominees for some board appointments were approved, however. The Council unanimously approved Scotty Bailey and Georgia Carol Walker as members of the Meridian/Bonita Lakes Development Authority. They also approved Angela Payne and former councilman Jesse E. Palmer Sr. as members of the Meridian Transportation Commission.

    Things should get brighter around Meridian when a project to restore lighting throughout town is complete.

    There are about 6,600 street lights in Meridian, Mayor Percy Bland told the Meridian City Council on Tuesday, but many are not working. Bland has asked Mississippi Power to inventory the lights and find out how many need attention.

    "We have a lot of blighted areas here and we need more lights," Bland said.

    Eddy Kelly of Mississippi Power, said the city is already paying $72,000 each month for street lighting.

    "We don't want you to pay for anything you are not getting," Kelly said.

    Bland said he doesn't know how many lights aren't working.

    "They are going to do a full evaluation of that. They are going to grid the entire city and once they come back with that data, we will know," Bland said. "They are going to start putting lights in those areas because we pay the same amount no matter what so we have to make sure our lights are on."

    The council also went ahead with a $1.2 million bond issue to fund water and sewer projects. The council approved the issue that will provide $350,000 for a generator at North Meridian freshwater plant, $600,000 for filter repair at B Street freshwater plant, and $250,000 to reroute wastewater from Marion to the east plant.

    The council first voted on the matter on June 18 which gave notice of its intent to borrow the money. Tuesday's vote was to direct the sale of the bonds. The bank submitting the bid with the lowest interest rate was approved. The low bidder was Bank Plus which submitted a bid with an interest rate of just over 2.51 percent.

    Bland also told the Council that he has been assessing all of the departments  in the city and looking at jobs as well as salaries.

"We want everyone who works for the city of Meridian to be appropriately compensated," Bland said.

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