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Halifax Town Council for police chief

Halifax Town Council has authorized Town Manager Carl Espy to advertise for a police chief.

The decision was reached during council’s monthly work session held Wednesday night in Halifax Town Hall.

The position became vacant when former Police Chief David Martin resigned to take a position as administrative captain in the county sheriff’s office.

The mayor asked Councilwoman Terrie Lantor and Councilman Bill Confroy to work with Espy to develop a job description the full council will approve before it is advertised to the public.

The council also reached a consensus to implement a new schedule on April 2. The new schedule will include eight-hour shifts, and all full-time officers will work 40 hours a week.

Council members reviewed amendments and addenda of the town’s personnel manual and agreed to place it on the agenda for approval at next week’s council meeting.

Under the section entitled “hiring authority,” the new addenda gives the town manager “complete authority” for hiring, promoting and discharging employees in accordance with the policies, and his decisions are subject to the mayor and council’s approval.

Another addendum involving policy on light/modified duty states the town shall make every effort to provide light/modified duty for employees with temporary restrictions resulting from a work related disability.

The light/modified assignment may or may not be in the same occupation, department, pay scale, hours, etc. as the employee was performing prior to the work related injury or illness.

The addendum spells out if an employee refuses the modified assignment that has been approved by their treating physician and is within their capabilities, his/her worker’s compensation benefits will be jeopardized.

Cell phone usage also was discussed during the Wednesday night meeting.

Under this addendum, the town will provide cellular phones to some employees as needed for business use only.

Personal phone calls, text messaging, picture messaging or data messaging is forbidden, and phones are not to be used when off duty unless in an emergency or unless authorized by the town manager or department head.

The addendum to the travel expense policy provides for employees who do not use a town vehicle to use their personal vehicle for town related purposes if approved in advance.

Employees who use a personal vehicle for such purposes will be reimbursed at the current IRS rate per mile. The reimbursement rate is intended to compensate for cost-related to the operation of the personal vehicle. The town of Halifax assumes no liability for employee vehicles used for work-related travel, according to the addendum.

Council also authorized one full-time town manager, one assistant manager, a part-time clerk, four full-time police officers and four part-time policemen, two full-time sanitations positions and one part-time sanitation positions as the maximum amount of employees allowed on a full-time basis in the personnel administration plan.

Council also briefly discussed the industrial revitalization fund and the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority planning grant for the former Burlington Industries facility.

According to Espy, the county Industrial Development Authority has received a $50,000 planning grant for the redevelopment of the Burlington property.

IDA representatives Patsy Vaughan and Mike Sexton met with Gayle Moody and a representative from housing community development last week concerning the grant.

Vaughan is currently working on leveraging another grant the IDA received from the Department of Environmental Quality to be used for remediation on the property.

Espy said Vaughan is coming up with a list of the activities entailed in the Department of Housing and Community Development planning grant so a contract can be written.

The farmers market was also a topic of discussion Wednesday night.  Councilman Phil Hammond told council the farmers market plans to open April 28. The hours of the market will be Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon and Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

According to Denise Barksdale, an Earth Day celebration on April 21 is planned at the market with many vendors planning to attend.  She said the grand opening will be in June, but they have not set an exact date.

Barksdale also updated council on the recent Market Training Symposium held at the Mary Bethune Complex on Feb. 23. Many vendors from the area attended, and one in particular drove from Alleghany.

Barksdale informed council of plans to paint the inside of the farmer’s market building. She said numerous volunteers have already agreed to help, and the goal is to have it painted by Earth Day.

Barksdale also informed council the farmers market now has a Facebook presence, and she will post events there.

Mayor Dick Moore recommended council consider removing the porta-johns from the farmers market and building restrooms inside.

By consensus, council agreed to add this issue to the agenda for further discussion at its next meeting.

Council members said they hope building restrooms will save the town money. Last season the town spent $1,800 on porta-potties.

The town manager gave council a brief update on the Par 5 Development LLC Dollar General project. He told council Par 5 continues to do title work and has not acquired the property. However they do have a contract in place and plan to close on the property soon.

Espy also updated council on applications received for the events coordinator position that was left vacant when Erin Shaughnessy resigned earlier this year.

Seven applications have been received to date, three of which showed the applicant had experience. Espy said, noting the deadline for accepting applications is March 16.

Espy also updated council on the status of the downtown revitalization project explaining the utility relocation construction will begin the week of March 19 and should be complete by Aug.15.

Espy also offered an update on the draft improvement priorities for VDOT Route 501 Corridor Study explaining the intersection of Route 360 and Highway 501 have been included in the study.

The town also continues to wait on a response from the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice on its petition and order for special election pre-clearance approval.

In other business, the Dixie Youth Baseball League has requested permission to use the PA system for their opening ceremonies scheduled for April 14 and their closing ceremony for which not date has been set.

Council added the request to the agenda for approval at the next meeting.

Espy also walked council through a review of the monthly financial data.

According to Espy, the administrative expenses this month were at 64.7 percent, the business development expenses were at 66.9 percent, the municipal building utility expenses were at 68.7 percent, the overall municipal building expenses were at 52.2 percent, the expenses for the police chief salary were at 86.3 percent, the fire department expenses were at 70.8 percent, the sanitation department expenses were at 54.1 percent, and the general fund expenses were 58.6 percent.

Council also went over the budget work schedule.

Finance Committee work sessions will be held April 4, May 2 and June 6 with budget approval set in June.