Council Passes Raises Amidst Confusion

Council Passes Raises Amidst Confusion

By Marla Jones, Managing Editor •

RAINSVILLE, Ala. — (Full Video on our Facebook) The Rainsville City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, February 3, 2020. Councilmember Derek Rosson was absent from the meeting.

During the meeting, Councilmember Brandon Freeman presented Ordinance 2-3-2020, which would raise the salaries and offer health insurance benefits for the Mayor and Councilmembers in the next term of office. Freeman stressed that the insurance benefits would not cost “one penny to Rainsville citizens.” 

At the January 20, 2020 meeting, Freeman presented Ordinance 1-20-2020 and asked for the rules to be suspended for immediate consideration. The measure, which required a unanimous vote, failed due to a no vote by Councilmember Marshall Stiefel. After multiple requests, Southern Torch was unable to obtain a copy of the ordinance. 

Southern Torch approached Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt at Monday’s meeting questioning why we were unable to receive a copy of Ordinance 1-20-2020. Lingerfelt stated that “it wasn’t a big deal, and [he] didn’t reckon that there was a copy.” 

Ordinance 2-3-2020 passed with a 4-1 vote, with Freeman, Lingerfelt, and Councilmembers Bejan Taheri and Ricky Byrum in favor of the increase. Councilmember Marshall Stiefel was opposed to the proposed ordinance. According to the League of Municipalities, an ordinance requires two readings unless the rules are suspended and the ordinance passes on the first reading with unanimous consent from all members.

Southern Torch received a copy of the second ordinance, which is listed as Ordinance 2-20-2020. It is unclear how the second ordinance presented was passed and adopted on the first reading without unanimous consent from all members. 

We attempted to contact Councilmember Derek Rosson for comment on the ordinance but he did not return the call. 

“I feel that the money would be better served with employee raises and tax cuts,” Stiefel said in a statement. “I would have never voted for something so serious when I never received a copy of the ordinance at either meeting. I don’t want to be like Nancy Pelosi by passing something just to find out what’s in it.”

In other business, the Council approved: 

  • To bid work for a turn lane on Hwy 75 South.
  • Installation of three new security lights: corner of Sam Ellis/Hancock Drive, 109 Sand Mountain Drive, and corner Bartlett/George Wallace Drive
  • Accepted the bid of Kevin Brown Excavating for drainage work on Skaggs Road
  • Moved the next council meeting from February 17th to February 20th, due to President’s Day Holiday
  • Transferred government capital improvement account from First Southern State Bank to WinSouth Credit Union
  • Approved Clerk Training for Kelly Frazier and Tammy Mason
  • Approved Local Government Training Class for Sheila Townsend and Kennedi Traylor
  • Accepted the resignation of Sandy Goff from the Zoning Board 
  • Authorized the Mayor to sign a contract and pay ½ of $15,000 fee to Little Texas for performance at the Rainsville Freedom Fest 
  • Awarded First Quality Homes & Construction a roofing contract for the library in the amount of $30,861

The Council went into executive session to discuss pending litigation with no action taken.

The next Council meeting will be held on February 20th at 5:00 P.M.

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