Burrough expects to be late to council meetings because of work hours

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/20/17

CARBON HILL — District 1 Councilman McClain Burrough said he may have to come in late to Carbon Hill City Council meetings in the wake of the council’s decision not to move its meeting time to 7 p.m.

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Burrough expects to be late to council meetings because of work hours

Posted

CARBON HILL — District 1 Councilman McClain Burrough said he may have to come in late to Carbon Hill City Council meetings in the wake of the council’s decision not to move its meeting time to 7 p.m.

The agenda at last Thursday’s council meeting had a proposal for changing the council time from 6 p.m to 7 p.m., which Burrough said he requested because he got a new pharmacy job at Son’s in Jasper. “I’m going to be getting off at 6 every day,” he said.

Mayor Mark Chambers said his concern was that a number of employees who attend the council meetings would be delayed until about 8 p.m. in getting back home.

“They’ve been there all day and they will be here at 8 o’clock now,” he said.

“I mean, I understand,” Burrough said. “I’ll miss too many meetings and I’ll have to give up my seat,” he said. “If y’all don’t want to work with it, that’s fine.” 

District 4 Councilman Chandler Gann, who said he is “indifferent” to the proposal, suggested the council could meet at 6:30 p.m. “I’m good with whatever,” he said.

Chambers said, “Usually, if you change the time, it helps somebody, but then it hurts somebody, too. I mean, I know it asks a lot of (City Clerk Nanette Brown and Police Chief Eric House) to stay to until 6 p.m. now. On this day, they’ve worked 15 hours, 14 hours.” 

“I can’t make it at 6 with the job I’ve got. It’s whatever you want to do,” Burrough said.

District 3 Councilwoman April Kennedy Herron said, “It would make it difficult on me because I have a school-age child, and I have my nephew, who I also help with. But I can’t expect my daughter to take responsibility, because she has her own things with college going on, too, so it would put me out really late. I know that doesn’t sound like it, but when you have a 5-year-old, it is late.” 

She said she did not want Burrough to have to give up his seat, either. “We can start the meeting and you can come on in,” she said. “Even if we could put it off 10 or 15 minutes.”

District 2 Councilman Clarence Colbert said his best days for calling ballgames were on a Thursday, but he knew he could not call those games when the council met, leading him to decline games.

“When you take this job, you have to realize things are already set in motion,” he said to Burrough. “I don’t want you to have to give up your seat, either, but I had to come to terms with either giving up the seat or not calling ballgames on Thursday, which is what I did. I just don’t call ballgames on Thursday. It’s a hard decision, but you’ve got to do what is best for you.” 

Burrough said he can come late, but he did not know exactly what time he could come. “I’m not going to fight you on it,” he said. “It is what it is.” 

Herron said the situation put her between a “rock and a hard place,” as she will put her family first regardless. “If they had to move it, it would probably result in me having to give up my seat,” she said.

The mayor asked if anyone wanted to make a motion to change the time to 7 p.m., but no one did.

“It’s fine. My feelings are not hurt at all. I’m just letting you know I will probably be late to every meeting,” Burrough said. Others at the meeting talked of delaying some of the major items until later in the meeting.

Chambers said, “Ninety percent of the work on the council is done when we are not here at this meeting. You vote on things at this meeting, but 90 percent of how you can help this community has nothing to do with the one hour, two times a month that we are here.” Burrough replied, “I agree.”

The mayor said his brother, Jason Chambers, who was recently appointed as the District 5 councilman and who was absent Thursday night, could come easily if the meetings were moved to Friday night. “But if you move it to Friday, it is going to hurt somebody else who is not going to want to spend Friday night down here,” Chambers said. “So he has to take off work to make it the way he has to come.

“I still think you can have a positive effect with this council and being late won’t affect it that much,” he said.

Herron said that by the time the council goes through the opening prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, the roll call for a quorum, the approval of the minutes and the department heads report is done, 15 minutes has passed.

With Street Superintendent Alan May at home sick that night, it took seven minutes to get through all of those items. On Nov. 9, the council took four minutes to get to that point, as two department heads were out. “I don’t think you’ll miss much. If there is a big vote, I’ll tell them, ‘Hey, we’re not voting until McClain gets here,’” she told Burrough. “I’ve got your back on that.” 

Burrough said he has been told the closings will be at 6 p.m., but the pharmacy has been closing around 6:30 p.m.

Gann said it could be worked so most of the votes and executive session could be later in the agenda.