Talladega Council approves a new motor vehicle operation policy
by Chris Norwood
TALLADEGA — The City Council voted 3-2 Monday night to approve a motor vehicle operation policy for city employees. Citing specific issues with the policy as written, councilmen Donnie Miller and Ricky Simpson cast the dissenting votes.

According to a cover letter from City Manager Brian Muenger, the policy includes motor vehicle record requirements standards (meaning review of driving records), accident reporting, seat belt usage and bans on distracted driving. It also reiterates the law banning smoking in city vehicles.

Miller initially raised the question of liability in cases involving city vehicles outside the city limits or jurisdiction, especially involving vehicles that have not yet been outfitted with GPS. Muenger said that, like any disciplinary action, the action taken here would be up to the department head, within the limits set out in the civil service rules and regulations.

Muenger said later he had a plan containing the addressing of some of the issues Miller raised, which he would present in the next month. These issues did not necessarily need to be addressed as part of the policy put to a vote Monday night, however. They would be addressed more appropriately in the on call policy, he said.

Miller again raised the question of liability in the case of an accident outside the city limits and penalties for employee misconduct using city vehicles. Personnel director Cathy Fuller said such employees were subject to progressive discipline according to the rules and depending on the seriousness of the offense.

Water Department Director Chuck Thomerson said he checks the GPS on his vehicles on call daily to monitor response time, and Public Works Director Karen Phillips said the animal control vehicles could be doing their job anywhere in the county. She knew of only one incident of misuse, which had been addressed.

Also Monday, the council:

• Heard a presentation from Neel-Schaffer Engineering on the findings of a long-term storm water runoff study. Proposed solutions to the problems discovered will be forthcoming.

• Approved a retail beer and wine license for Emma’s Food Mart on Alabama 21.

• Tabled a library board appointment.

• Heard Muenger announce significant progress was being made with the sidewalk renovation project, with work in Ward 5 only still needing to be completed.

• Heard that CSX was making progress cleaning up the railroad tracks in Bemiston.

• Approved an agreement with East Central Alabama Football Officials Association for services not to exceed $2,500.

• Approved contracts with the Coosa Valley Officials Association for soccer and basketball not to exceed $10,000.

• Approved a senior program trip to Savannah, Ga.

• Approved an agreement with the state to maintain pavement markings and stripes for the Spring Street railway crossing.

• Approved a similar agreement for the Stephen J. White Memorial Blvd. crossings.

• Approved a contract with In-Site Engineering for leak detection services not to exceed $16,000 and filters for the water plant not to exceed $30,700.

• Waived fees associated with the fats, oil and grease program for the coming fiscal year.

Contact Chris Norwood at cnorwood@dailyhome.com

© 2013