Conflict surrounding the Civil Service Commission has held the city from moving forward on a number of issues over the past few months, starting with the hiring process. Since the Commission is heavily involved in the hiring of city employees, the mayor says he'll be glad to finally begin bringing in more people that the city needs.
"Public Works Department and the Police and Fire Departments both have some needs that they need to address right now, and we're trying to address those needs, especially in our public safety and Public Works department, so that we have the manning that we need to address the issues that are out there," Mayor Percy Bland explains.
Next on the list, is dealing with terminations. The Civil Service Commission holds the hearings for any employees who feel that they've been wrongfully terminated. And although there is not yet a replacement for the Commission's chairman, the four current commissioners can move forward with those hearings if they so choose.
"The Civil Service Commission has four active members," CAO Mike McGrevey says. "It's a fully-functioning Civil Service Commission. They can move forward on everything that needs to be done, but they've got to make that decision themselves."
Several hearings have been held up over the past few months. Attorney Bill Ready, Jr, says he has six clients and seven appeals waiting, including those of former MPD officers Don Hopkins and Dean Harper. But while he's eager to move forward with these cases, he says he's cautious to do so in the commission's current state.
"My clients need their hearings, they want their hearings and need them immediately, but I have some concerns and reservations because of not having a full trained, experienced Commission now," Ready says.
The commissioners are paid $100 a month to meet a minimum of once a month. In order to catch up on its agenda, the mayor says they might need to consider meeting on multiple occasions during the month.
"One of their next meetings, we're going to probably end up having a lot of the things we need to put on the table for them, which may cause them to have possibly more than one meeting in a month," the mayor says.
But that decision will be left up to the Civil Service Commission.