Leachville council approves officer going full time

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Leachville Police Chief Chris Ellis (right) and Alan Lasater speak to Leachville council. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Following a discussion and executive session at the Jan. 25 Leachville City Council meeting, it was decided to move Mike Shivey from part time to full time patrolman and Alan Lasater from full time to part time status.

Chief Chris Ellis informed the council that Lasater had come home from the academy with an injured ankle. He told him to go to the doctor and he called the academy to see if Lasater could return. Ellis said he was told he could return and be put on light duty.

"We hired you to get your certification," Mayor Wells told Lasater. "You have done us a good job but you were hired to get your certification so you could be a full time officer."

Lasater said he was told to turn in his equipment until a decision was made by the council.

Chief Ellis said once a person is pulled out of the academy he cannot work as a full time officer.

Lasater said he did not quit, there was a communication failure. He said he was waiting to hear from Chief Ellis.

"When you called me, I explained to you (Alan) you had a responsibility to the city to go and finish this," Councilman Lisa Baldridge said.

Chief Ellis said Lasater has part time certification and he could work part time.

Chief Ellis had also asked the council to consider a promotional raise for Lt. Mitchell Lasater. He said he has gone from corporal to sergeant to lieutenant. He has not received any raises for rank.

Lt. Lasater said he had taken on more responsibility and training with no compensation.

The council took no action on the raise for Lt. Lasater. Councilwoman Ethel Hetler said they had not budgeted any raises last year.

Councilwoman Baldridge asked if officers are working 24 hour shifts.

"We don't think 24 hour shifts are good," she said.

Councilwoman Teresa Johnson informed Chief Ellis that when the city lost power, members of the fire department were out and they could have used some help from the police officers. She asked who was on duty. She said they had 13 firefighters come in and Robert and Larry Ballard also came out.

"I know you have families but take care of your families and then come out to help," Johnson said. "We need to make sure we had coverage in emergency situations. Thanks to the fire department and Robert and Larry."

Ellis said he did not know the generators did not come on automatically. He said he only lost power for a short time and he was not aware it was off throughout town.

Chief Ellis asked the council permission to trade several older handguns for a rifle.

"We have three rifles and four officers," he said.

Council did not express any objection to trading in old handguns.

Robert Ballard, street and water manager, asked the council about giving workers a clothing allowance. He said the uniform service had been canceled.

City treasurer Ruth Ann Keith explained the money would have to be put on their check so it would be less taxes but if they want to purchase the jeans, they can bring her the receipt and the city will reimburse them.

The council voted to give the city workers a $250 clothes allowance each for the year.

Ballard asked the council if Patrick Shepard could go from part time to full time. He said it would be a big help. The council voted unanimously to allow him to go full time.

Councilwoman Baldridge asked Robert to check on the cemetery.

"I know it is cold but there are leaves, flowers and limbs everywhere," she said. "It really needs to be cleaned."

Councilwoman Karen Wallace said if people would put a label on the flowers placed in the cemetery they could be placed back where they go.

Fireman Drake Brown gave an update for the fire department. He said the tornado siren is in place. He said thanks to the LIDC, they now own the ground and can go forward with grant process for a substation. The next phase of the project is hauling in dirt.

"We are going to need a lot of dirt," Brown said.

The council made several suggestions on places to acquire dirt.

The property for the substation is located due north of Helena Chemical Co. on Highway 119.

Barbara Lloyd, Centennial Committee member, requested the council approve activities on Feb. 1 in conjunction with Leachville's 100th birthday. Leachville was incorporated on Feb. 2, 1916. She said there was a celebration in July, as well as several smaller events throughout the year. The committee wants to release balloons at the school, decorate the lampposts with balloons, and place two banners in town.

"We want your approval and blessings," Lloyd said. "The banners will say 'Happy 100th Birthday Leachville, and honk if you love Leachville.'"

The council had no objections.

In other business:

*The Council voted to leave the council meetings at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of each month, except for February which was moved to Feb. 22.

*The Christmas parade was set for Nov. 26.

*The Harvest Festival was set for Saturday, Sept. 3.

*Councilman Michael Webster commended Leachville's First Responders for their quick response to wrecks during the inclement weather.

*The council heard complaints about dogs running loose and taken to the pound repeatedly. A resident asked if there was an ordinance and if the people had to pay a fee every time the dogs were picked up at the pound. Ms. Keith said there is an ordinance with fees that increase each time. She said the owners do need to have proof of shots to be able to get the dogs out.

*Following the financial report with Ms. Keith presenting all of the account balances, she said the 2015 amended budget will need to be finalized at the February meeting.

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