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Council approves police union contract

Councilman Bobby Williamson (left) and Councilman Robert Simpson

By Robert Flippo
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

The Piedmont City Council met Monday, Sept. 30 at City Hall. This was the second council meeting of the month, following the special session on Sept. 16.

It was a quiet evening, with most of the discussion on the meeting’s agenda items having taken place during the Sept. 16 meeting. The meeting featured just four agenda items.

The first was in regards to the police union contract, the second dealt with the redistricting of the City Council wards, the third was on the decision to hold a workshop to consider charter committee revisions and the final item was a resolution to decrease the speed limit on a portion of Washington Ave from 45 mph to 35 mph.

Police Union Contract

City Manager Jim Crosby began the discussion by informing the council the Fraternal Order of Police(FOP) had already approved the contract and he recommended the council approve it as well.

Councilman Donnie Robinson and Councilman Bobby Williamson stated they had issues with the contract allowing officers living up to twenty miles outside of the city limits to take their vehicle home.

“I have an issue with them driving cars twenty miles outside our city limits,” Robinson said. “That’s a lot of wear and tear.”

Crosby said the city needed that stipulation in the contract because of past practices. Since the city already allows a current officer who lives outside the city limits to take their unit home, they could not conceivably prohibit that practice in the contract.

The council unanimously voted to approve the contract, although Robinson noted it was with reluctance and Williamson seconded his sentiment.

Ward Redistricting

Piedmont’s charter requires the city to redistrict the City Council wards roughly every ten years, coinciding with the US Census. The City Council was presented with the proposed changes to the ward boundaries at the special meeting on Sept. 16.

The changes are designed to keep the wards approximately equal in terms of population, with each ward having around 1,200 people. The wards on with the highest population density, the south and east, shrank in square mileage while the western wards, specifically Ward 2, gained square mileage.

The council voted unanimously to approve the changes.

After approving the changes, the council had to determine if they wished to declare the item an emergency. The issue several councilmen had with the idea of declaring it an emergency was that the city would not be required to post the changes in the newspaper. Robinson and Councilman Robert Simpson were the most vocal on the matter, but the rest of the council agreed the public needed to see the new ward boundaries and the item did not necessitate declaring an emergency.

Workshop

The council agreed to hold a workshop considering charter committee revisions at 6pm on Oct. 14.

Speed Limit Changes

The resolution to lower the speed limit on Washington Ave east of Piedmont Road from 45 mph to 35 mph came before the council at the August meeting. However, the language in the resolution only affected the westbound traffic and not the eastbound. The resolution presented at Monday’s council meeting changed the speed limit for both east and westbound traffic. The council voted to approve the speed limit changes.

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