Summit’s town council is expected to vote on the appointment of a foreman in the public works department when the board meets again Tuesday night, but it’s not clear how much support the mayor’s proposal has from the board.
Mayor Percy Robinson wants to create the new position, which would come with a $16-per-hour salary and give it to Jessie Simmons, who already works in the department.
Councilmen, however, have said that they will only approve the promotion if Superintendent Tim Baylor is in agreement.
Robinson said at Tuesday’s work session that no one in the department is in charge of supervising employees when Baylor is away from the job or at another job site, and that could pose a problem from a liability and organizational standpoint.
Robinson said he’s worried that employees are running roughshod over the department.
“I’ve heard this over and over again — it’s like the employees run the town. ... That is entirely wrong to let the employees run the town,” he said.
Robinson said based on incidents he’s aware of, the employees need the extra supervision.
“Let me tell you, there are some things going on out there right now,” he said. “Someone has got to be in charge and Tim and I talked about it yesterday.”
The mayor noted the military service of himself, as well as council members Pauline Monley and Joe Lewis and Police Chief James Isaac.
“We know our structure. There always has to be somebody second in command,” he said. “You can’t get around that. If you don’t, you leave the town open to liability if there is no one there to supervise.”
Monley asked why the board hadn’t been made aware of alleged wrongdoing ongoing with town employees.
“I agree,” Councilman Daryl Porter Jr. added.
Robinson said he hears about it, but it’s rare for an employee to file a formal complaint against a co-worker.
Porter said he’d defer to Baylor before making his decision.
“As always when it comes to personnel, I always have the same question: What does the supervisor think?” he said.
“The last thing (Baylor) told me was, ‘I’m good with it,’ “ Robinson said.
Councilman Joe Lewis agreed with Porter about getting Baylor’s opinion.
Robinson said it’s up to the board to act based on what its members think is right.
“I never had nobody in the military ask me how I feel about anything,” Robinson sad.
“We are not in the military. We are council members for the Town of Summit,” Councilman Lester Jones said. “One thing we can do is vote on it next week and move on.”