LaFayette Sun

Council denies claim from owner who had car totaled by city vehicle

By John Brice

The LaFayette City Council met on Tuesday, April 25th of 2023 at the Chambers County Farmers Federation Agricultural Center at the ALFA building in LaFayette. In attendance were Mayor Kenneth Vines, Councilman Terry G. Mangram, Councilman David Ennis and Councilman Michael C. Ellis. City Clerk Louis T. Davidson and City Attorney Joseph M. Tucker were also present. The meeting began with an invocation led by Councilman Mangram and standard procedures such as roll call as well as approval of the minutes from the previous meeting.
First up for discussion was a Notice of Claim by Tameka L. Harrington in regards to an automobile accident involving her vehicle and a truck operated by a city employee. It was determined that this was a typical car accident without a dollar amount and the best course of action was to deny the claim and allow standard insurance procedures to handle the situation.
Harrington’s damaged vehicle had been towed and was being kept in storage, which if unclaimed the storage company could sell it to recoup some of their costs. Councilman Mangram mentioned that it was a city owned pickup truck that had backed into and totaled her car and that employees need to be held accountable for such mishaps. Councilman Ennis expressed his belief that Mayor and LaFayette Police Chief Rampey need to address safety issues involving city employees and their driving on the job. Denial of the claim was a motion approved.
Next on the agenda was an announcement of a Board of Adjustment Meeting being scheduled for Wednesday, May 10th at 5:30pm CST to discuss a zoning variance related to the placement of a mobile home.
Councilman Mangram raised the issue of a uniform policy for city employees due to his concern of having observed several of them not wearing uniforms when on the job performing their duties. Mangram emphasized that department heads need to make sure all of their workers and staff are properly attired at all times as well as ensuring that visible signs need to be posted to alert nearby citizens that they are working in that immediate area. Also of concern was work by private entities taking place in the city after approved work hours that have failed to notify the city, possibly with the intent of avoiding guidelines and obtaining the required licenses.
Mayor Vines raised the issue of employee safety that he had brought to the attention of Superintendent Green. Vines stated his intention to meet with employees and possible safety training to be conducted. Councilman Ennis recommended reprimanding violators working without permits within the city limits and remarked on rental houses where contractors have left significant amounts of debris on street corners after cleanouts.
At issue is city employees picking up the trash at no charge when fees should be collected. Mangram stated that there should be a notification to property owners and their contractors that there is a charge for such sanitation service. Attorney Tucker noted the need to revisit the relevant codes on the books and going forward to undertake the development of consistent rules regarding debris.
Resolution No. 2023-04-24-01 (2022 MWPP Report) came up next for consideration with it having been reviewed and no changes being necessary the city can continue operating as before and the motion was approved with a roll call vote. Subsequently Resolution No. 2023-04-24-02 (City reservoir Primary Spillway Repair Authorization) was reviewed by engineer Allen Tucker from Harmon Engineering & Contracting Co., Inc. Speaking at the podium, engineer Tucker noted that the spillway at the city lake project’s main line is in place with an invoice on the way and county workers had completed backfilling of a damaging hole. Existing pipes were unable to be replaced until new overflow pipes are installed which will double capacity and add redundancy to prevent future issues.
Attorney Tucker made note of the extended emergency declaration where one pipe was completely broken and the other pipe had been bent which reduced its flow. Tucker remarked that half measures had been tried and had failed and emphasized that these repairs are essential otherwise there could be a catastrophic system failure in the future and a complete loss of the entire reservoir. At that point the motion was approved for the repair contract with a roll call vote and the meeting was adjourned.

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