The New Llano Town Council meeting last week was rife with wishes to work together as a town and to respect one another regardless of personal opinions.
Most notable on the agenda was that council would vote on whether to rehire former New Llano Police Officer Jamie Moore as a full-time patrol officer.
Moore informed council that he is waiting to be cleared by his doctor before he can return to work for the police department. He has an appointment on April 17 at which point the doctor will reassess his health and make a decision. If he is cleared, Moore would most likely return to work the next day.
Council decided to table the decision until they have a clear answer from the doctor.
Back in January when Moore was laid off due to town budget woes, he gave his paid position to the one remaining officer Alex Vasquez.
Moore was then turned down by the town when he offered to switch to the unpaid position of reserve officer.
A lengthy discussion was held regarding a residence at 302 Third St. set for condemnation. The owner Ms. Edy and the two residents (relatives of the owner) were present at the meeting.
Town Engineer Jim Verzwyvelt presented an updated report to council regarding the state of the residence. The couple had been provided with a list of repairs which needed to be done in order for the house to avoid being condemned.
The residents said they did some of the work inside and have plans to have the house levelled out but no one had inspected inside to see these alleged improvements.
Verzwyvelt said the repairs would far exceed the cost of the home.
Mayor Freddie Boswell intervened to present a solution. “We aren’t getting anywhere,” he said. “Council seems to want to make an extension.” They voted to allow a 30-day extension giving the residents another opportunity to make progress on necessary improvements.
Town Auditor John Rozier reported an upcoming budget will need to be introduced at the May council meeting and given final approval in June.
Boswell said he wanted to involve Police Chief Danny Hunt in the process of creating the budget. Hunt is supposed to have full knowledge and autonomy over the police department budget and this has been a major point of contention since the January layoffs.
Hunt said he definitely wants to be a part of that process.
During the pre-council meeting which is open for the public to ask questions and address concerns, Sherrie Martin came forward choking back tears.
She had been fired earlier that day from her position as the town’s ticket and fines clerk. In February she had been moved over to the police department to act as dispatch while maintaining her usual duties, she told the Leesville Daily Leader.
“I’ve enjoyed (working here) but I hope to come back in July,” Martin said to the council. Current Mayor-Elect Denis Jordan will step into his new position on July 1.
“I’m sorry how it happened but you haven’t gone unnoticed,” Councilwoman Carolyn Todd said.
Councilman Terry Speicher told Martin the council does not have any say in the decision to let her go.
“I don’t think it was done right,” Martin responded through tears. When she was fired, Martin said she was told by Boswell that there was not enough money to pay her salary.
Also during the pre-council meeting, New Llano resident Jonathan Turner spoke to the town council and directly to the members of the community present at the meeting.
“The last couple months has been a mentality of us versus them,” he said. “At the end of the day, we don’t have to like each other but we need to respect one another.”