Monroe Mayor Mayo Absent Last Night

The time-tested theorem of absence was again proved last night – that is the LACK of information or ABSENCE of someone is often more significant than what information IS included or who IS in attendance at a gathering.

Monroe’s controversial Mayor Jamie Mayo was not at the meeting of the Monroe City Council. Instead, Director of Administration David Barnes sat in for Mayo.

And that absence contributed to a different tone at last night’s meeting. The council was much more assertive and “in charge,” since they didn’t have to deal with Mayo’s bluster.

First up was a report on the heretofore secretive Interstate 20 Economic Development District Corporation, by Secretary-Treasurer Charles Pritchard. Among the reports Pritchard gave to the council:

2012 meetings summary and ongoing/future projects
List of businesses in the district
Historical tax revenues
Total expenses by project
Debt service
Fund balances

Pritchard noted that the board had been “negligent” in providing reports to the council, but they would attempt to catch up with their duties.

During questions, District 3’s Betty Blakes asked about monies dedicated to projects that included the Monroe Airport terminal, but were “subject to the Attorney General’s approval.” Blakes asked if that approval had ever been received.

City Attorney Nanci Summersgill couldn’t directly answer the question, as there was a tremendous legal file with “tons of documents.” Blakes said she would make an appointment to review the files.

The council rejected a proposal for generators for the airport, as there was only one received. The request for proposals (RFQ) will be re-advertised.

District 1’s Ray Armstrong noted that the administration did not do due diligence in soliciting the proposals, and that proper procedure was not followed.

Said Armstrong, “It is the city’s responsibility to notify them (vendors and contractors) in the change in the official journal.” He added that the state’s bid law said, “To encourage competition, specs and bid forms should be mailed to all known area vendors of the commodities sought, or all contractors in the area.”

Quite a bit of the meeting was taken up on a condemnation recommendation by Code Enforcement on a building owned by the Martin Temple Christian Church.

The council voted to not condemn the property, but Council Chair Eddie Clark (District 5) strongly encouraged the owners to rehabilitate the property, as this was the second time they had addressed that particular property.

Clark said that Code Enforcement could bring the issue back up in 60 days, and that the council likely would okay their recommendation if that happened.

Finally, the council presented a joint resolution to long-time Monroe Housing Authority member Ed Miller, who had served on the board since 1985.

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