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Graves: Algood Council Has Hands Tied With New Hires

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Graves: Algood Council Has Hands Tied With New Hires

Algood City Council Member Ron Graves said he predicts that 99 out of 100 times, the council would approve the candidate brought before them by City Administrator Keith Morrison.

But Graves said he believes Council should have a stronger voice in those decisions. Graves sponsored the new ordinance approved on first reading Tuesday night that gives Council the final say on department head hirings.

“We have hired a new Public Works Director and a new Fire Chief in the last few months,” Graves said. “The City Council had our hands tied behind our backs. We couldn’t even vote. They could have put anybody in there, we had no say-so. We couldn’t even have a discussion about it.”

The ordinance passed by a vote of three to two. Algood Mayor Lisa Chapman-Fowler and Vice Mayor Luke Hill voted no on the ordinance. Chapman-Fowler said Morrison takes his position and the hiring of city staff very seriously.

“We try to take your recommendations since you are actually boots on the ground,” Chapman-Fowler said. “And we already have in place that the city council hires and fires the city administrator.”

Graves said when Fire Chief David Judd was hired, he did not agree with the criteria Morrison used to score candidates. He said Morrison Prioritized a college degree too heavily and could have kept Judd from winning the job with that system.

“It doesn’t make sense to me that somebody that might have three college degrees in Agriculture, or Poultry Raising, or driving a racecar, or something else should have a higher ranking than somebody else that has the passion for the job,” Graves said.

He said when Morrison hired Public Works Director Walt Bradshaw, he and other council members believed they would have a chance to approve or deny the choice.

“When we elected the Public Works Director, or when we were putting somebody in, we thought we had a voice,” Graves said. “At the very last meeting, we had it on the agenda, our city attorney said ‘No, the council doesn’t have a vote on this.’”

Graves said now, the city has a public works director and a fire chief that they had no input on, and he believes that should change. He said anything dealing with staffers who have already been hired as department heads will continue to be Morrison’s responsibility. He said despite what many people may say, there is nothing political about the change.

City Attorney Danny Rader told the council the ultimate power is the control they have over the City Administrator and the ability to fire him or her, if that person does not act in the way they want.

The power to hire and fire department heads has remained with the city administrator for over a decade.


The post Graves: Algood Council Has Hands Tied With New Hires appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.