BY LAUREN HENRY
The Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen adopted a new employee handbook for the Town at the board's meeting Tuesday afternoon.
"The handbook you have in front of you reflects the changes from the four meetings of public hearings that we had on the handbook," City Administrator Todd Smith said.
"The document you have in front of you incorporates all of the content changes that we made."
In past meetings the board considered revisions regarding workers compensation/occupational disability, break periods, personal hygiene, harassment on the job, weapons, conflicts of interest and ethics, as well as other issues.
Alderman Keith Paxton questioned how the policy to now allow police officers to remain in uniform off-duty would affect the town long-term.
Previously, when an officer was serving as security in a rented capacity, that policeman wore plainclothes. The new handbook would allow the officer to remain in uniform.
"If they are off-duty, I think we are more protected if they are in uniform and protecting the city rather than if there is a question about their position," Smith said.
Chief of Police Terry Cannon said that an officer is "technically on duty 24 hours a day." That officer carries a gun and radio and has arrest powers should an incident occur.
"You want that person in a uniform," he said. "You don't want a plainclothes person making an arrest."
Cannon did not see any insurance problems with the new policy, and the handbook received the board's final approval on a unanimous vote following a motion by Alderman Darrell Bryan.
The board also adopted the town's first-ever documented chain of command.
The organizational chart has the citizens of Greeneville at the top, branching down to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and then the city administrator.
"Number one consideration is the citizens of Greeneville. That is who we all report to," Mayor W.T. Daniels said.
All of the town departments such as Parks and Recreation, Fire, Police, Senior Center, Recorder's Office, Human Resources, and Public Works fall under the governance of the city administrator.
Paxton noted that he could not find the position of Building Inspector on the organizational chart. After a moment of reading through the charts, Smith recognized the omission.
"No, actually I don't see that," he said.
Daniels said the position would come under the Town of Greeneville and under the heading of city administrator, who would be responsible to provide guidance for that department.
"We need to add that," Mayor Daniels said.
The board considered an ordinance on second and final reading that would authorize the Mayor to execute and deliver a notice of disclaimer and abandonment of certain platted alleys and an unnamed street.
The board tabled a final decision last meeting because City Attorney Ron Woods was not present to present a legal view.
At Tuesday's meeting, Woods explained what abandoning the alleys really meant.
"All the city can do is abandon the public's right to use this," he said.
The plats in question are some of the oldest in the town, dating back to the 1800s. Residents of the area had voiced concern that the alley ways are being used in criminal activity, according to the mayor.
According to Woods, the alleys and the unnamed street may not even technically be owned by the Town of Greeneville.
They could be only a right of way that the town maintains
If the town abandons that, then the property-owner still has the right to use the alley.
However, their rights are still subject to other property-owners that may need to use that alley to access roads.
Woods said the town legally cannot land-lock an individual.
He said the situation from the land owner's point of view can be confusing and difficult.
"If a neighborhood wants the alley closed, they would all have to agree?" Daniels asked Woods.
"Yes, they would all have to agree," Woods answered.
"To summarize, the board cannot extinguish the private right to this, only the public's right to this," Woods said.
The board agreed to authorize the abandonment of the platted alleys and the unnamed street.
The board approved three bids to purchase town property.
Jimmy R. Collins Jr. with Casper's Body Shop & Wrecker Service LLC outbid the Greeneville Water Commission to purchase the town-owned warehouse on Loretta Street for $35,000.
Collins also purchased the town-owned lot on Loretta Street adjoining his current business for $15,000.
Both purchases would serve to grow Collins' business.
A property-owner on West Barton Ridge Road, Matthew Smith, purchased a small parcel of land from the town for $200 where the driveway on his current lot has existed for about 40 years.
Alderman Paxton raised a question regarding appraising the property: "Do we have appraisals?" he asked.
Smith said appraisals are only one of two ways for determining market value. The second is a public bid process, which the town did.
"Everybody had the opportunity to place a bid," the mayor said.
Paxton was concerned that the town may not know the real value of the property they are selling.
However, Smith that, if the town considers the income potential of the property, it becomes potentially a negative asset to the town, given the cost of maintenance and the loss of potential tax revenue.
Placing the property in the private sector alleviates the town's burden of maintenance and provides revenue through taxing the property.
The board also accepted an application for a Pool Room Permit at 412 East Bernard Ave. The business will be Bernard Billiards.
Chief of Police Cannon advised that the board accept the application, considering that "an investigation of the applicant and the location shows nothing to be in conflict with the City ordinances regarding operating a Pool Room."