Headlines Cont. – 12/26/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – December 15, 2006


Personal leave days approved for all NP employees
By Jason C. Mattox

Central office employees and non-certified classroom personnel in the North Panola School District had their personal leave days reinstated at the December 18 meeting of the Board of Trustees.

The request was formally made by Superintendent Glendora Dugger, and passed with a unanimous vote.

"All of our teachers have two personal days," she said. "None of our staff at the district office, myself included, gets those two days."

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Dugger said the leave days were suspended during Bonnie Smith’s tenure as superintendent.

"The reactivation of the personal days will give everyone in the district two days," she said. "Our office staff and assistant teachers are people we don’t have to pay substitutes for, so it won’t cost more money to give them the days off."

Board president Cecil Dowden asked if there was a real need to reactivate the personal days since the school district’s policy included personal leave days.

"Our policy doesn’t include non-certified employees," Dugger explained. "We need to give them the personal days too. Sometimes things just come up and you need a day off for whatever reason be it a funeral or just being sick."

"I don’t see a problem with us giving our office personnel the same kind of leave we give for our teachers," trustee Billy Russell said.

In other board business:
$100 donations from Renasant Bank and St. Peter MB Church were accepted. The funds will be used by the NPHS cheerleaders.
Superintendent Glendora Dugger was given permission to advertise for a school safety officer for Crenshaw Elementary.
The retirements of Dugger, effective June 30, 2007, Sue Boothe, effective immediately, and Barbara Presley, effective December 31, were accepted.
Trustees accepted the resignations of Henry Williams, in-school suspension monitor and Mandra Davis, Crenshaw Elementary Cafeteria cashier.
City’s retirement policy calls for age 55, 25 years’ service
By Jason C. Mattox

After questions were raised about applying accrued time from other state agencies or municipalities to the City of Batesville’s insurance for retirees earlier this month, Humana representatives were present Tuesday to provide insight.

Brad Clark and Brad Camp of Clark Insurance appeared at the board’s request to answer questions.

"Presently, the city’s retirement policy says 55-years-old and 25 years of service," Camp explained. "Until they reach that point, they are not eligible for coverage in the city’s retirement plan unless the board makes changes to the policy."

Aldermen initially asked Camp and Clark to discuss the matter with Humana, but changed their mind upon learning the company could cancel its contract to provide for the city.

"You would need to know what changes you were going to make," Camp said. "Are you talking about time earned at another municipality or state employees?"

Clark advised that the retirees will have a direct impact on the insurance premiums paid by the city.

"We could go to them and they might just raise your rates, but there is a chance they will cancel their contract," he said.

Alderman-at-Large Teddy Morrow said the city should not make any changes to its insurance plan or retirement policy.

"We don’t need to jeopardize our other employees to take care of one or two," Ward 4 Alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders said.

No action was taken.

In other board business:
Aldermen voted to allow up to a 150-day extension to Starbucks for their due diligence work after learning that the potential owner of the property was seriously injured in an accident.
NP trustees approve van purchase for maintenance
By Jason C. Mattox

The North Panola School District trustees voted to move funds set aside for the purchase of a passenger van for district travel to cover a van for the maintenance department.

The vote came after maintenance supervisor John Reed made a request for a new vehicle.

Reed explained the vehicle he is presently using is in horrible shape and needs to be retired.

"The truck I am using now is just pathetic," he said. "It’s like a 1990 model and it has a lot of miles on it.

"I have to travel a lot around the district and to Memphis," Reed added.

Reed said one of the doors on the vehicle will not remain closed and must be held during travel.

Board vice-president Pearl McGlothian asked if the district had funds available to allow for the purchase of a new vehicle.

"We have $15,000 budgeted for the purchase of a passenger van to use for travel by the district," finance manager Lavette Upshaw said. "I told Mr. Reed it was money we could use, but he had to ask the board’s permission."

McGlothian asked Reed if a vehicle for the maintenance department could be purchased for that $15,000.

"I am looking at a half-ton or three-quarter ton van," he said. "And it will cost the district about $13,000."

Reed added that his vehicle isn’t the only one in the department needing to be replaced.

"All of our vehicles are in pretty bad shape," he said. "My plan is to budget for one new van each year until we are caught up."

Reed said the van will take approximately six weeks for delivery.

Batesville aldermen clarify responsibility to
B & G Club
By Jason C. Mattox

A resolution originally adopted last year by city officials concerning the Batesville Boys and Girls Club facility was altered in the board minutes during last Tuesday’s board meeting.

Ward 1 Alderman Bill Dugger first raised questions about the resolution’s mention of the city’s commitment to pay public utilities on the former armory building where the club is now located.

"According to the one in the minutes, the city and county are responsible for the utilities," Dugger said. "I didn’t think we were paying any of the utilities."

"We are giving them the building rent free and $25,000 per year," Dugger added. "I don’t see why we should pay their utilities."

The original version of the resolution read:

"… the old National Guard Armory is not needed for municipal purposes and the Mayor and Board of Aldermen… are of the opinion that its highest and best use would be use by various community service clubs and organizations, without charge, with the utilities… being paid by the City and County."

"I really do think the county pays the utilities, and we don’t want to cut that out if they are," said Ward 2 Alderman Rufus Manley.

During the city meet, deputy city clerk Susan Berryhill contacted the Panola County administrator’s office and learned that Panola County pays the electric bill for the facility, but no other utilities. After learning that, the board unanimously voted to amend the minutes to exclude any references concerning payment of the club’s utilities.

In other board business:
Donna Traywick was given a one year variance to operate a daycare at 210 Broadway St. while her location on College Street is being repaired.
Batesville Civic Center Director Roy Hyde advised the aldermen of the upcoming schedule which includes a rodeo, the county and district livestock shows in January and an arena cross event in February.
BPD communications officer Sadie Willey was given permission to work part-time at Murphy USA.
Bids for materials and supplies were accepted.
A bid for backhoes was awarded to Hood Equipment.

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