The Caraway City Council met in short session Thursday evening, June 8, and accepted resignation from a city policeman.
Mayor Joe South read a letter of resignation from Toby Rand, effective June 27. Rand has accepted a position with the City of Monette.
"Monette will be required to reimburse us for the $4,122.88 that we paid to send Toby to the police academy," South said. "Toby had agreed to stay with us for 18 months, or pay the expenses back."
The council discussed taking applications to fill the vacancy.
"I have a man in mind for the job, and would like to spend some time with him this weekend before hiring him," Police Chief Jerry Vaughn said. "I am looking at Shannon Kelems for that position, as he is a part time officer now. I need to get to know him better."
"I thought you had that taken care of before you put him in the car by himself," Alderman Bo James said.
"I want to make sure that Shannon is going to stay with us," Vaughn said. "He is planning on moving to Caraway, which is a good sign."
"You can hire him and he will be subject to approval at the next council meeting," South said. "If he doesn't work out, let's start again from scratch."
"He (Kelems) has taken your slack and it was a toss up between him and the other officer the last time," James said.
Vaughn said he was not ready to hire him that night.
James asked why the city is losing officers.
"Some people are just not happy here," Vaughn said.
"We pay good," Alderman John Boatman said.
"Toby was a good officer and made good revenue for the city," South said.
"We got in a cycle and didn't lose any officers for about four years," Vaughn said. "They are not over worked and the pay is good."
"We lost one of the best policemen we have ever had, with Toby," South said. "He had tried to go with Monette to start with, and this is a lateral move. I don't think he was happy here to begin with."
Boatman said Rand's taser gun and equipment should be locked up.
Other council business included:
*Adoption of Resolution 2006-1 for a cafeteria insurance plan for employees. The pre-tax medical plan uses Arkansas Municipal League guidelines, which is an Internal Revenue flexible benefit plan.
*Mayor Joe South reported on a parking dilemma brought about by users of the city park and playground parking on Basler Electric Company property.
"Company executives came to me with their concerns about people parking on their property, as they do not want to be liable," South said. "They want us to consider putting up a fence or removing the tile in the ditch, so they can't drive across it."
The council discussed alternatives such as use of a cable across the driveway and on weekends to prevent vehicles from entering.
"We could put up signs about driving on this side of playground, instead of the Basler route," Alderman Kenny Weathers said.
"Their lot could be posted with private drive signs, also," Alderman Bo James said.
"It will have to be posted before we can run people out," Police Chief Jerry Vaughn said.
"I really don't know what the answer is on this," South said. "I'll talk with them again. If they can put up signs, then we can have the police ask people to leave. We can see if it is feasible to have a parking lot down there."
"Could we move the playground equipment?" Alderman Mike Vaughn asked.
"It is set in concrete and would be hard, if not impossible, to move," South said.
Vaughn suggested trying the signs first.
"Whatever it takes to work this out, let's take care of it," Weathers said.
*The council voted to start city-wide curb-side recycling pickup on July 12, and send a letter to the Craighead County Solid Waste Authority advising them of their plans. Collection of recyclable items will be weekly on Wednesdays, with items bagged in blue bags. The city is making a three year commitment to curb side pickup as part of their agreement with the Solid Waste Authority to provide the city with a truck.
"Once people catch on, I think the process will flourish," South said. "We can use the truck they provide for any additional purposes the city needs.
Mayor South reminded those present to vote on June 13.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be on at 6 p.m. July 13 at city hall.