Quincy CRA submits director resignation

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By Cheri Harris

Quincy commissioners had a special meeting for the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency on Sept. 18 to discuss the Sept. 9 resignation of CRA Director Charles Hayes.

In the letter, Hayes gave a 45-day notice, but city commissioners voted to end his employment with the city on Oct. 8, the minimum allowed in his employment contract, according to the city attorney.

Quincy Commissioner Larry Edwards said he was disappointed Hayes was not at the meeting and said he hoped Hayes would finish Tanyard Creek Park before he left.

Commissioner Derrick Elias Jr. at first expressed interest in paying Hayes for 30 days but ending his employment.

“My position is that he serves at the pleasure of this board,” Elias said. “He stopped pleasing me a long time ago.”

Mayor Keith Dowdell said Hayes needs to finish Tanyard Creek before Oct. 8.

Micah Brown moved to terminate Hayes’ position, but in the end Hayes’ resignation was accepted, with the modification to his notice.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to hire Regina Davis as interim CRA director.

Quincy City Manager Jack McLean told the Times that Hayes is at work this week and that one of the things he is working on is closing out Tanyard Creek Park. That includes getting the Department of Environmental Protection to sign off on certain tests and reports submitted to them in relation to issues such as stormwater runoff, drains and holding facilities. McLean said Hayes has submitted everything from CRA.

“They’re just waiting for clearance from the DEP standpoint that everything is operational,” Mclean said. “Once that is done the park will be closed out.”

An issue commissioners raised at the CRA meeting is $40,000 still owed the contractor. McLean said the city will pay the contractor after some necessary repairs to the park’s stormwater facilities are completed.

McLean said it is important to close out the grant for Tanyard Creek Park so the city can submit other grants for projects such as neighborhood revitalization or housing, but one grant project must be completed before the request for another can be submitted. McLean said the city received about $750,000 in grant funding for Tanyard Creek, which has been open about two and a half years, and the whole project cost more than $1.5 million.

Some Quincy residents had some pointed things to say during the time for public comment.

Frieda Bass Prieto complained that the CRA meeting minutes and agendas have not been updated on the city’s website since 2011 and she said there is no email address for the mayor listed on the city’s website, or the CRA’s attorney.

She urged caution in CRA spending.

“Every penny of tax money that gets wasted, someone else has to earn,” she said. “I want to see my city be prosperous.”

Gadsden County Commissioner Brenda Holt spoke at the meeting in her capacity as a Quincy business owner. She said she has talked with some other local business owners and who agree that publicity about controversy in the city makes it difficult to attract new business.

“We want them to say positive things about the city of Quincy,” she said. “You’re the county seat. I’m not chastising; I’m just asking.”

In a budget workshop following the special meeting, Quincy Commissioners voted unanimously to take $6,000 from Quincy Mainstreet’s budget to fill grant requests from three nonprofit agencies: Big Bend Community Development Corp., the Alzheimers Foundation and Legacy School of Performing Arts.