Redfield OKs 18% pay hike for street superintendent

REDFIELD – An 18 percent salary hike for long-time Street Superintendent Harmon Carter was unanimously approved by the Redfield City Council during a regular Tuesday night meeting, but the increase won’t be effective until the panel makes it official with an ordinance.

Carter – whose current annual salary, with benefits, is $40,141.05 – hasn’t had more than a cost-of-living raise during the past 15 years.

Her counterparts agreed with Alderwoman Barbara Werner’s contention that Carter should receive an overall increase to $48,557.84, but Alderman Darrell Hedden maintained that the matter should be addessed in an ordinance instead of a suggested resolution.

An ordinance is a local law while resolutions are considered non-binding.

Mayor Tony Lawhon indicated an ordinance to amend the city’s 2012 budget so that it reflects the proposed raise will be introduced during the council’s April meeting. An ordinance must be read three times before a vote is held.

Also Tuesday night, Courtney Cooper complained that city hall isn’t operating at its established hours and Lawhon doesn’t keep regular office hours. Lawhon is paid a part-time salary and works elsewhere as well.

Lawhon disagreed with Cooper’s contentions and Hedden told her that he didn’t think the council had a right to set work hours for a part-time mayor. Lawhon said anyone wishing to contact him had several options, including telephoning or visiting him at his barber/beauty shop or adjoining residence. He said he also has a cell phone.

At one point, an unidentified audience member loudly proclaimed that Cooper has no right to speak about the matter because she is not a city resident. Cooper, who lives within the county but outside of the city, countered that she does business within the city and should be allowed to state opinions, ask questions and receive answers.

Lawhon said he would install an answering machine in his city hall office.

In other business, Fire Chief Dennis McFatridge reported that firefighters responded to eight fire reports and 15 rescue unit requests during February. Police Chief Steve McFatridge reported that during the past month, officers made four misdemeanor arrests, served four failure-to-appear warrants, investigated five thefts, and issued 12 traffic citations.

Also, the council – minus absent members Sandra Garrett and John Jones – approved:

• The third and final plat of the Sunset Valley Subdivision.

• Continuing a city Web site at an annual fee of $203.76.