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BOMA finalizes pay raises for self

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen had a busy agenda June 11, which included finalizing a pay raise for itself, discussing the merits of allowing guns in City Hall, and getting a look at the proposed new Franklin campus of Columbia State Community College. 

The new Franklin campus for Columbia State Community College could open by 2016. The state has not yet approved the design depicted in this rendering. Submitted

CSCC’s President Dr. Janet F. Smith addressed BOMA during the non-voting work session, describing what a new campus would look like after the city rezones from mixed-use district to civic and institutional district the 36 acres at 1228 Liberty Pike. 

“We want to make sure we can build the campus of the future there,” Smith said, whose voice was weakened by what she described as laryngitis. 

Phase I would include two academic buildings and an administrative building, she said. The campus could open by 2016. 

Vernon Gerth, Franklin’s assistant city administrator, said the college – which has five campuses in southern Middle Tennessee – is working closely with city administrators in planning the campus. The collaboration, however, is largely diplomatic; being a state institution, it does not need the city’s approval to proceed once the rezoning has been approved as is anticipated. 

“They are not required to follow local development regulations,” Gerth said. “However, they have been working with staff to review plans, and they are doing their very best to follow regulations. They have been using our inspectors and paying applicable fees. This will be the last time they come for your approval for a state institution, which they don’t need. But I want you to know we are working closely together.” 

At-large Alderman Ann Petersen previously served on the faculty at CSCC.

“As a very longtime employee, I can say this is definitely needed,” she said. 
Guns in City Hall
Vice Mayor Dana McLendon made his case during the non-voting work session to change the city ordinance that outlaws guns in most government buildings. 

McLendon’s argument is largely threefold: 1) private citizens with permits to carry guns statistically, he said, to be involved in criminal activity, 2) banning guns does little to keep the non-gun-carrying public from encountering people with weapons elsewhere, and 3) just because it is illegal to bring a weapon into City Hall, there is no way to enforce the law if the weapon remains concealed, as the building’s entrances are unguarded and there is no metal detector for people to pass through. 

City Administrator Eric Stuckey countered by saying that people who work in City Hall began doing so knowing it to be a gun-free office. He developed a counter-argument using a statistic used by McLendon – that 1 in 15 adults in Tennessee might have a carry permit. 
“Typically, government buildings [do not allow private citizens to carry weapons] Why? Is it out of respect for the other 14 of 15 people [who don’t have carry permits]? It’s not a simple issue,” Stuckey said.
“If you’re committed to a safe workplace by not allowing guns in the workplace, then you need to do more than put up signs,” McLendon said, stressing that he does not advocate for adding security to the building’s entrances. 

McLendon said he has a state permit to carry a weapon. 
“If you have met me outside of this building, there is a 99 percent chance I was carrying [a gun] at that moment,” he said. 
He asked the body to make a yes/no vote on the matter in the near future. 
Pay Raises for Mayor, Aldermen
BOMA voted 5-3 to give itself a pay increase, effective this fall. The raise will be the first for the body in 25 years. 
Aldermen Brandy Blanton, Pearl Bransford, Beverly Burger, Margaret Martin and Ann Petersen voted in favor of the raise, while Vice Mayor Dana McLendon, Aldermen Mike Skinner and Clyde Barnhill cast dissenting votes.
Beginning Nov. 12, the mayor’s new annual salary will be $19,500, and that of each alderman will be $12,000. According to the ordinance, the change will add $67,500 to the city’s expenditures annually. The mayor’s annual salary is currently $9,600 and aldermen currently make $4,800. All are eligible for health, dental and life insurance; mileage reimbursement and receive a laptop to use for business purposes. 

Posted on: 6/12/2013


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