Pelham Civic Complex motion fails again

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham City Council voted narrowly during its June 4 meeting to reject a motion aimed at bringing in an outside company to possibly manage the ice rink side of the Pelham Civic Complex.

During the meeting, council members Ron Scott, Karyl Rice and Steve Powell voted against the motion and Council President Teresa Nichols and Councilman Bill Meadows voted in favor.

If passed, the motion would have allowed Pelham Mayor Don Murphy to issue a request for proposals for companies interested in managing the Civic Complex. After the companies’ proposals came back, the resolution would have authorized Murphy to negotiate a management contract with one of the companies.

The resolution would have required any change in Civic Complex management to be approved by the City Council.

The resolution also would have authorized Murphy and Pelham Human Resources Director Jerry Nolen to implement a job reclassification plan and an employee “reduction in force plan” for the complex, and would have allowed Murphy to set new hours for the facility.

The council voted along the same lines to deny a similar motion during its May 14 meeting. City officials previously said the Civic Complex has been losing between $900,000 and $1 million a year for more than a decade.

“I do plan to call a work session to continue discussion of this issue,” Nichols said after the motion was voted down.

Powell called the motion “bad business,” and said the council would not have a say-so in the Complex’s hours or any personnel changes had the resolution passed.

“Sure, the RFP is non-binding, but that’s where it stops. Nothing else comes back to the City Council for approval,” Powell said.

Meadows said the passage of the resolution would have allowed for further discussion of the matter.

“It’s a vehicle to keep people talking,” Meadows said. “We need to keep talking about resolving these issues. Without the passage of this bill, we stop talking.”

In other business, the council:

-Voted unanimously to enter into a contract not to exceed $15,000 with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood Inc. The company will work with the Alabama Department of Transportation on behalf of Pelham while ALDOT begins designing a U.S. 31 widening plan to implement in the future.

“It could be money well spent to have someone representing our interest as they put pen to paper (on this widening project),” Powell said.

-Voted unanimously to accept the fiscal year 2011 financial audits prepared by Moses, Phillips, Young, Brannon and Henninger, LLC.

During the council’s pre-meeting work session, auditor Lee Willoughby said the city is in “incredibly strong” financial shape, and said the city’s “cash position did not waver much through the recession.”