ALMA — The Alma City Council approved two changes to its mayoral position Thursday night, increasing the job from part-time to full-time and the salary from $25,000 to $50,000.
The ordinance, which passed by a 4-2 vote, goes into effect in 30 days.
According the ordinance, which was read by Mayor Jerry Martin, said the changes are necessary “as the duties of the mayor require a greater time than that warranted for a part-time position.”
The ordinance also stated the city will continue to contribute to the mayor’s retirement fund.
Council members Eddie Wakefield and Gary Perry cast the two dissenting votes.
The council also voted to accept the resignation letter of city attorney Rinda Baker, effective the end of this month. Baker will be joining the Crawford County Prosecutor’s Office.
“It was a short notice and I hate to see her go, but she’s doing this with our blessings and support,” said Martin.
The council voted to enter into a 90-day contract with Sean Brister while it decides how best to fill the position.
“Instead of acting hastily and in a rush we’re going to take time to determine what we’re going to do moving forward,” said Martin.
Brister said, “I thank you and look forward to being a good contracted city attorney for the city for the next 90 days.”
The council also approved an ordinance establishing a 10-cent increase in the assessed health fund, a state mandated fee that appears on residents’ water bills.
Retiring police chief Russell White, in his final council meeting, started his department’s report to the council by estimating he’d attended as many as 350 meetings in his career at Alma.
“I just wanted to thank you,” he said. “The council’s always been supportive, and when I say that I’m not just talking about money, I’m talking about being supportive of the police department and our cause. When you do that the community’s more supportive and it’s a cascading effect. You end up with better officers and officers that want to stay.”
Perry, recalling something that was mentioned during White’s retirement reception earlier in the day, said to White, “An awesome statement was made today that ‘honor is given where honor is due’ and everything that was said about you is true so I hope you’ll accept that and embrace that because what is given to the heart is given from the heart.”