By Cady Inabinett, Managing editor of content
Montevallo’s City Council voted to use $210,000 of the city’s American Rescue Plan funds to purchase a property located at 540 Main Street at their Feb. 27 meeting with the stipulation that the property would be reinspected first.
The council held a public hearing in regard to purchasing the property on Feb. 22. Council members had visited the property as well.
At the Feb. 28 meeting, council members debated if the city should purchase the property without it being reinspected first. Several council members expressed that they would be uncomfortable closing on the property without reinspection to make sure necessary repairs had been made.
In response to these concerns, the council agreed to stipulate in their vote that closing on the property would not occur until a reinspection has been conducted showing that repairs have been properly made. Once this has happened, the city will close on the property and the matter will not have to come before the council again.
Also approved at the meeting were two board appointments. The council approved Pamela Smith and Andrew Porter’s nominations to the Planning and Zoning Commission, filling all openings on the commission.
The council also fielded concerns from several citizens during their meeting. The first was Montevallo resident Don Hughes. Hughes, who had formerly served as Montevallo’s city manager, on Montevallo City Council and as Shelby County’s manager and public works director, expressed concerns about the city’s plan to build a hotel in Montevallo.
Hughes pointed out Montevallo’s history of hotels, mentioning that there used be a hotel called Saint George Hotel that was torn down. Hughes also said there used to be rooms for rent in Ramsey Hall on the university’s campus.
Hughes concluded by saying, “I think, if we’re going to entertain a hotel, a private company needs to do it, not city money.”
The second resident to address the council was Rod MacPherson. MacPherson addressed the council alleging theft of gasoline from the city and misuse of city credit cards—saying that these things were being stolen from taxpayers.
MacPherson provided council members with a five-page list of issues he says need to be addressed by the council saying, “You guys are actually legally obliged to look into that stuff given the oath you took before you were voted in to serve in this office.”
Nobody on the council responded to MacPherson’s claims. However, after MacPherson’s address, Montevallo resident Bobby C.P. Pierson addressed the council expressing confusion about MacPherson’s claims.
Pierson pointed out that he has been to many of the council’s previous meetings and has not heard about any of these issues, nor has heard anything about these issues from news media.
No council members responded to Pierson either, but MacPherson handed him an information packet.
At the end of the meeting, Pierson addressed the council about MacPherson’s claims again, saying, after reading MacPherson’s document, that he’s still confused.
Pierson’s first concern from MacPherson’s document regarded a lawsuit against the city. He said he did not know that this lawsuit occurred.
The lawsuit alluded to is Ed Davis v. City of Montevallo. In this lawsuit, Davis, a former employee of the city, sued the city for breach of contract because it failed to follow certain discharge procedures outlined in the city employee’s handbook when terminating his employment in 2015. The city argued it was not required to followthese procedures because Davis was an at-will employee.
The Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of Davis, saying that the fact that Davis’s employment was at-will was irrelevant to how his employment was terminated.
No one from the council made a comment about the lawsuit.
Pierson also asked how many audits the council has undergone. City clerk Steve Gilbert responded by saying the council has undergone two audits commissioned by the current council and one that was authorized by the previous council.
Mayor Rusty Nix pointed out that all audits have come back clear.
Pierson concluded by asking for clarification on MacPherson’s comments, but quickly followed by saying, “You all probably don’t know, but I just wanted to let you know that inquiring minds wants to know.”
Council member Leila Mitchell responded by saying, “We do too,” but no other council member made any other comment.
The next city council meeting will be held Monday, March 13, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at City Hall and livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page.
Cady Inabinett is the managing editor of content for The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies and generally just being pretentious in her free time.