At least one councilman for the City of Gray was surprised to find out the council was meeting April 6.
Only two out of five councilmen attended the meeting. City Clerk Cindy Yancey said councilmen Benny Gray and David Tufts both let her know they would not be attending. Mayor Pro Tem James Collins and Councilman Terry Favors were at the meeting as was Mayor Ed Barbee.
Favors called Councilman Terrell Fulford when he did not show up for the meeting, and Fulford said he was not aware they were meeting. The previous all committees meeting scheduled March 16 was canceled.
Yancey sent out the agenda for the April 6 meeting via email about 2:30 p.m. that afternoon. The agenda only had two items listed. The first simply said personnel and item 2 was authorization for the mayor to sign a water/ sewer capacity letter for the expansion of Dulles Park.
The owners of the Dulles Park complex had approached the council last year requesting capacity to add 48 more apartments. Barbee explained that the project, which was previously approved by the city, was not approved for tax credits last year and they were reapplying this year.
Because of a lack of a quorum, however, approval for the letter will have to be brought back up at another meeting.
Collins said the first item, personnel, did not need a vote and only needed a discussion.
Barbee asked who decided that city employees did not have to come to work and would still be paid.
Collins said council members had previously agreed that only one person was needed at City Hall and at the water department.
“We agreed to only have essential personnel for performing duties,” the mayor pro tem said.
Barbee said he had talked to five city managers and mayors, and their departments were all working.
Yancey said everything that needed to be done in Gray was being done.
“I appreciate that the council is looking out for the health of the employees,” she said.
Collins said he believed that the city should continue with employees working as needed, at least until the expiration of Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter in place order on the 13 th .
The mayor asked why Yancey had been the only person in the office.
The clerk responded that it had been her choice. She said other staff members have volunteered to help, but she felt it was her responsibility.
“When something needs to be done, I call the appropriate person, and it gets done,” she said.
Yancey then asked Barbee what was not being done that needed to be done. She said the water department was being handled, and the grass was cut last week.
The clerk went on to say that, beginning next week, the office duties would start being rotated with other employees.
Collins said he was glad that the city was ahead of the curve in protecting its employees during the pandemic.
“We can keep the system running without putting people in danger,” he said.
Favors said he agreed.
“I’d rather be behind than to have one of our employees get sick,” he added.
Yancey reiterated that, although she has been the only one in the office everyday, she was not the only one who had been working.
“Every time I’ve called them, they have come,” she said.