Midway council mulls city manager

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By Alice Du Pont


The evaluation of Midway’s city manager, or the lack of several commissioners to complete evaluation forms, was the major topic of discussion during the Nov. 1 regular meeting of the city council.


“You all have not filled out the evaluations. I have tried and tried to get these evaluations. You had from October to April to fill them out and from April to August,” said Mayor Ella Barber.


According to Barber, City Manager Auburn Ford Jr. should be evaluated twice per year. But some council members said they thought the evaluations were to be used as a tool for improvement.


“My thought was that we would sit down with the manager and discuss what we felt he should improve on,” said Councilman David Knight.


Barber said her concern was that Ford tries to tell her what to do “behind the scenes.” Ford’s contract was automatically renewed for the next 24 months because the council took no action to the contrary. 


“It’s at the discretion of the council whether we keep him or not. Quit playing around,” said Councilman Chuck Willis.

Knight said the council failed to act when Ford’s contract was up for renewal.


“I thought the decision we made was to sit down individually and talk to him (Ford) and let him know what he needs to improve on,” Knight said.


“We’re not cooperating, we’re operating. His contract calls for semi-annual evaluations. I don’t want him to feel like nothing can happen to him because the date (for contract renewal) has passed,” Barber said.


Willis, whose hand had been raised to speak for several minutes, said he wanted to make a motion.


“You might not want to do that (make a motion to terminate Ford). This ambush approach won’t work; give it notice and put it on the agenda,” Hunter told Willis.


“I think we should hold a workshop on the city manager,” suggested Councilman Charles Smith.


Willis, however, made a motion to terminate Ford, but the motion died for lack of a second.


In other matters:

• Several council members scrutinized the financial report, particularly a recent trip the Little League football team took to Jacksonville. Some of the charges included $1,020 to Country Inn and Suites, $266 at Golden Corral and $948.75 to Group Sales (for football equipment). 


“I would like to see the invoices. I also would like the names of the people staying in the rooms, and I would like to see our profit and loss budget versus what has actually been spent,” said Councilwoman Delores Madison.

She said while the budget for the police department is $200,000 over $180,000 has already. Madison said she wants to know where the money is coming from for the expenditures that have been made.


• Council members plan to meet with the Gadsden County School Board on the Midway Charter School on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Max D. Walker Building, 35 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., in Quincy.


• Midway resident David Gaines asked the council for help with the increasing number of people who fire guns randomly in wooded areas near homes. “I’m not talking about a shot; these are multiple shots. It sounds like Afghanistan or Iraq. There is no way one person can fire that many shots,” he said. Councilman Knight said he thought he knew who might be behind the shooting and promised to contact them.