New car for Pelham mayor debated among city council members

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mayor Bobby Hayes will soon be driving a new $27,895 sedan provided by the water department, despite objections from two city council members.

Council members voted 3-2 to buy the mayor a new car for his work as superintendent of the Pelham water department.

The water department vehicle he has been driving for the past two years will go to Capt. Tommy Thomas of the Pelham Police Department.

Mayor Hayes defended the practice, saying every other year a vehicle is donated to either the police or fire department and then assigned to a command staff member.

Hayes said the 20-year-old tradition was budgeted for and that the money is not taxpayer&8217;s dollars. &8220;The money comes from the water department,&8221; said Hayes. &8220;This is actually savings to taxpayers. It prevents these departments from having to purchase another vehicle.&8221;

Council members Mike Dickens and Robert Sullivan felt the money should have been put to better use.

&8220;The council members can think whatever they want,&8221; said Hayes. &8220;This is a cash savings.&8221;

Finance Director Tom Seale said the low bid was $4,000 cheaper than his previous vehicle