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New Faces in Several City Positions

Marking 25 years of service as the town of Mountain City recorder and judge, last week’s city council meeting was the 300th and last official meeting for Terry Reece. An open, public invitation retirement party will be held on June 25th at 1:00 in the Crewette building in Mountain City. Mayor Lawrence Keeble has assured everyone that it will be a fun event. Three other resignations were accepted at the meeting, the first for water plant operator Jonathan Campbell. A decision was made to hire a replacement for the already under-manned department.
Also submitting a letter of resignation was Gene Hackney, who is leaving the Mountain City Planning Commission after 45 years of service. Vice Mayor Kenny Icenhour informed the council that Hackney has held the position since the commission’s inception in 1966, giving him more years than almost anyone in the state. Mayor Keeble announced that after much consideration, Karen Cunningham had been suggested to fill the vacancy. The council agreed unanimously.
There was also progress concerning the open position of city judge. At the suggestion of current city attorney George Wright, Mountain City attorney Randy Fallin was appointed the new city judge. At the same time, Wright announced his own resignation as attorney for the town Mountain City, suggesting attorney Steve McEwen as his replacement. Each of these positions, as well as that of city recorder, will have nine-month terms and Wright’s official retirement will be effective June 30th. Following discussion on the matter, the council appointed both Fallin and McEwen to their respective positions.
One other personnel change was addressed at the meeting. An opening for city hall clerk, which was created as Sheila Shaw was promoted to city recorder, has been filled. After reviewing the 50 submitted applications for the job and whittling them down to five, Dawn Reece Roberts was chosen to fill the vacancy.
Casey Dorenbush of Mountain Citi Marketing came before the city council with a proposal for an event to be held at the Sunflower Festival on Saturday July 23rd. Dorenbush would like to sponsor what he titles the “Sunflower 500,” a soapbox derby to be held on East Main Street near Tri State Co-op. The derby would require shutting down part of the road for approximately two hours. Participants would build their own soapbox following general derby rules, meaning no motorized vehicles. There would be three categories with prizes for each, including most original design and ugliest.
Several members of the city council voiced concerns about insurance and safety issues. At the suggestion of attorney George Wright, Dorenbush will have to investigate taking a special events insurance policy to cover the event. Additionally, alderman Bob Morrison suggested starting the derby no higher up East Main than Pine Street. If these conditions were met, the derby would also have to have the approval of businesses that would be affected, including the Trading Post and Tri-State. Mayor Keeble voiced his concerns about closing more streets for the festival.
After debating the issue, a motion was made by Alderman Morrison to allow the derby, pending the council’s requirements are addressed. This includes getting the insurance, making sure the course is safe, and getting the approval of the local businesses. The motion passed three votes to one.
During his report, Mayor Keeble brought up a past policy that was established when the city donated a much-used backhoe to the Johnson County Trails Association. That backhoe had been loaned to various other organizations, which had put it in much worse shape than it would have been otherwise. Keeble wanted to make sure that the town’s new policy prohibits the lending of city equipment. Keeble stated that the equipment was for town use only and should remain so. He went on to say that he also felt that the city garage should be used only for city vehicles. The entire council agreed with this sentiment.
Terry Reece informed the mayor and aldermen that new streetlights the city had ordered should be installed in the coming week. Reece also brought several complaints about the uncomfortable nature of the city’s new uniforms. The employees of several departments have asked for cooler uniforms in place of the hot denim they are currently required to wear. Following a lengthy discussion, a decision was made to allow employees to wear blue denim shorts if they were unhappy wearing jeans. At the suggestion of Jerry Horne, the council will also allow employees to buy and wear uniform blue t-shirts with the city logo.
One of the last points of the night was a vote to purchase a new flow meter for the Silver Lake Treatment Plant at the cost of $1,528. The old meter was damaged severely during heavy rains earlier in the year and had to be replaced. Following the end of the town’s new business a motion was made to adjourn.