Florence city council was criticized Monday for approving the purchase of eight security cameras March 12 after discussing the matter in executive session.
“You don’t talk about this stuff in personnel matters or whatever you go into executive session for,” former Florence mayor Jeannie Meirowsky said. “That should have been discussed in an open meeting. I’m sorry guys, but that’s illegal.”
Personnel matters were discussed during the session and the subject of the cameras came up, councilman Matt Williams said.
Councilman Trayce Warner said she agreed with Meirowsky, but also made the motion to purchase the cameras March 12.
If Warner had reservations about the executive session discussion, then she should have halted the conversation, community member Susan Reid said.
“If you felt that way Trayce, you could have stopped it right then,” Reid said. “If that was a concern you had during executive session, then that was the time to address it.”
Florence’s council signed a 50-year water lease agreement prior to Monday’s meeting for access to Crystal Springs, ending a yearlong process with the DeForest family.
“I want to thank everybody,” said Linda Long of the DeForest family. “We worked very hard on this and I think we came up with something that is good for the city and for us.”
“I want to thank they DeForests for all their cooperation,” councilman Ken Hoffman said. “It’s been very trying on your part, it’s been trying on this side, and I was happy to see the agreement as it came out.”
Florence, which has been paying for gas for its ambulance for almost two decades, should seek as much compensation as possible from the county EMS department, Florence EMS member Scott Zogleman said. Florence EMS used to write out tickets for purchases for reimbursement by the county EMS department, which went unpaid.
“This started happening way back, before the current council or city clerk,” he said. “I don’t know that they were even aware because their office manager has changed too.”
Marion County EMS director Travis Parmley agreed to pay for fuel receipts back to the start of his tenure in January, Zogleman said.
In a decision that frustrated Insurance Planning Center representative Bill Hendricks, Florence approved an insurance plan from American Family instead of Hendricks because they offered the same coverage, but American Family’s $27,460 bid was $11,325 lower.
He requested an email from Florence outlining why American Family was chosen.
“After a year of service, I’d like to have an explanation,” he said. “I find it very difficult to believe you’re doing an apples-to-apples comparison.”
Removal of asbestos from the city’s gym floor is done, but the payment has not been sent yet and there is concern over the amount of lingering dust, Gayle said.
“It’s a heck of a dusty mess from one end to the other,” he said. “Being an asbestos abatement company, you would think that’d be a primary concern.”