From the Clarksdale Press Register
By TAYLOR MITCHELL
Three former City of Clarksdale employees have filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Board of Mayor and Commissioners learned in executive session at Monday’s meeting.
One of the complainants is from former city attorney Curtis Boschert, who was removed from his position in July 2017 after a change in mayoral administrations. The identities of the two other complainants have not been confirmed.
Boschert declined to comment on the matter, but did confirm he filed a complaint with the EEOC against the City of Clarksdale.
The Board of Mayor and Commissioners also voted to follow Fiser Insurance agency’s recommendation and retain Phelps-Dunbar law firm in Jackson to represent the city in the EEOC hearings.
City attorney Margarette Meeks has recused herself from all the EEOC cases.
Also in executive session, the board voted to declare the property at 765 Grant a menace to the health and safety of the area, as well as a danger to society and hazardous to the community. The home, which had suffered severe fire damage, will be scheduled for demolition by the public works department.
Before the board went into executive session at the end of Monday’s meeting, the mayor and commissioners heard from Clarksdale’s police chief Sandra Williams, who presented a new organizational chart to the board.
Williams’ proposed organizational chart included several key roles and fields that hadn’t been previously addressed, including internal affairs, community specialist, crime scene, juvenile and domestic violence among others.
“Domestic violence is a serious issue,” Williams said. “I want to designate someone to handle domestic violence issues.”
Williams’ proposed organizational chart features more roles and positions than the Clarksdale Police Department currently has officers for. However, Williams acknowledged this in her presentation and said she isn’t looking to hire more officers.
“Will an officer be available to take all of these positions? Of course not,” Williams said. “Some of these divisions will have people with dual roles, some people will handle more than one division. The goal is to serve the City of Clarksdale with the upmost professionalism and be as effective as we can against crime.”
However, one commissioner didn’t fully comprehend what Williams had said.
“I like your hcart, but I’m going to be the bad guy,” Plunk said. “The first thing I want to ask you is have gotten with (city clerk) Mrs. (Cathy) Clark to go over your budget? We don’t have the money. I’d like to fill every slot you have, but she’ll (Clark) tell you and the mayor will eventually tell you, we don’t have the money. What I’m looking at, to me, is a wish list that cannot happen and will not happen.”
“I’m not asking for any additional people,” Williams responded. “What I said was, these are divisions, or areas where we need people and these positions will be handled by officers doing dual roles. I’m not asking for additional officers, I’m not asking for additional money.
“We cannot ignore these issues that are going on. To best serve the city of Clarksdale, these are jobs that need to be covered by the police department. We are going to cover these areas with what we have.”
The board voted to approve Williams’ organizational chart for the police department.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the board passed commending resolutions for several employees who recently retired. The board honored CW Grayson, who spent 43 years in the Clarksdale Fire Department, Campbell Doggett, Milton Williams and Edwards Woods. All of whom served for at least 25 years in Clarksdale.
A farewell celebration for the retirees is scheduled for noon Friday at the Bus Station.
In other business:
The board approved a policy requiring all employees to clock in and out. Failure to do so will now result in disciplinary action.
The board voted to make March 17 Varner Rencher Day.
The board held several property hearings, and voted to allow six month permits to be given to property owners at 228 Sixth Street, 901-903 Florida, 507 Anderson and 904 Sunflower.
Finally, the board acknowledged the MLK parade will be held at noon Feb. 17. It was previously postponed due to the winter weather.