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City Council agenda: Mayor to address employee funding issues; police chief to discuss traffic warden

Ward 3 Council members also on agenda by Tia Lyons | October 7, 2021 at 12:00 a.m.
El Dorado City Hall is seen in this News-Times file photo.

The El Dorado City Council has several items on the agenda for its regular meeting, which will begin at 5:25 p.m. today in the Council Chamber of City Hall.

Under new business, Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer is on the agenda to provide clarifications to questions regarding the director of human resources' position and the city's administrative budget, which is overseen by the mayor.

The matter has been ongoing and was last broached during the council's regular meeting on Sept. 23.

Council Member Dianne Hammond asked how the human resources position, which was created in 2020 after the payroll/personnel clerk's position was split in two, was being funded.

Hammond's question sparked a contentious exchange, with Hammond alleging that Smith-Creer did not provide a satisfactory answer and accusing the mayor of not being transparent.

The HR position is funded by the administrative budget and Hammond pressed the issue last month, referring to an overage in the administrative budget in 2020 and a projected overrun for 2021.

The matter stems from a previous decision by council members to fully fund the payroll clerk's salary from the administrative budget.

The salary was initially split by the administrative budget and the El Dorado Water Utilities, as the clerk was serving both entities, but council members said funds from the two entities could not be co-mingled and employees could not be shared between City Hall and the EWU.

Smith-Creer said she plans to address the matter at today's council meeting, as well as city processes by which grievances and concerns from the community are filed with and addressed by the city.

Police Chief Kenny Hickman is also expected to update the council on efforts to hire a civil traffic warden to focus on parking in downtown El Dorado, which has a controlled parking zone that is regulated by a city ordinance.

The city has been without a downtown parking enforcement officer since early 2019.

Council members voted in May of 2020 to fill the position agreeing then to transfer the position and its responsibilities -- including salary, training and oversight -- from the Department of Public Works to the El Dorado Police Department.

Hickman said last year that the position would formally be called civil traffic warden.

The EPD has received several applications/resumes for the job.

However, since funding for the position was approved for the 2021 city budget, the hiring process was placed on hold until the council could finalize the city budget for fiscal year 2020 and adopt the 2021 budget, which was approved in August.

Council Member Andre Rucks is also on the agenda to continue discussions about options for a service to redistrict the city's four wards to reflect a 10% population drop in El Dorado, as was recorded in 2020 Census count.

The city's population decreased from 18,884 to just above 17,100 people.

Council Member Willie McGhee has requested to be added to the agenda today to discuss "a few issues."

Print Headline: City Council agenda: Mayor to address employee funding issues; police chief to discuss traffic warden

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