Mount Carmel employee disciplinary appeals to be heard by full BMA

MOUNT CARMEL — All seven members of the Mount Carmel Board of Mayor and Aldermen will decide the outcome of employee disciplinary appeals thanks to an ordinance which was approved by the board on first reading at Tuesday’s meeting.

The ordinance amends the appeals procedure of the town’s personnel policy to state that all employee appeals will be heard by the full BMA, and a majority vote of the members in attendance is required to overturn a disciplinary action.

The appeals will be heard following the next regularly scheduled BMA meeting for which adequate public notice may be given.

Previously the mayor alone determined the outcome of appeals of disciplinary actions taken by department heads.

Mayor Chris Jones said the policy change was proposed directly as a result of an appeal involving a fired police officer which took place last year.

After months of postponements, former mayor Larry Frost overturned the termination and reinstated the officer.

The full BMA subsequently terminated the officer again.

Jones said the change was needed to prevent prolonged appeals as well as prevent issues where the board and the mayor counteract each other.

Jones noted that the town elected seven board members to represent them, and when it comes to making difficult decisions like an appeal of an employee termination, all seven board members should determine the outcome of an appeal.

“I feel that having the power of appeal in one person’s hands, who may very well be the person who fired the employee to begin with, isn’t fair to the employee or the town. The reason we felt this was necessary was to give every city employee a fair opportunity to have a prompt review of their case if they wanted one, to keep it fair, and not to prolong it any more than necessary.”

In other business Tuesday, the BMA:

• Approved a resolution amending the town’s purchasing policy which has been in place since 1999.

The old policy required department heads making purchases between $200 and $5,000 to acquire three handwritten quotes attached to the purchase order before making a purchase and to advertise for bids for purchases more than $5,000.

The new policy requires three handwritten quotes attached the purchase order for purchases between $2,500 and $9,000 and advertising for bids for purchases more than $9,000.

Mount Carmel’s 2014-15 fiscal year audit, which was released earlier this month, included negative findings related to violations of the previous purchase policy.

• Agreed to release the bond of Pave-Well Construction for paving work conducted this year in the amount of $79,447.

• Accepted the sole bid of $10,785 for three salt spreaders from Saltdogg Spreaders.

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