The Jefferson County Economic Development Authority’s plans for a private prison took another step to fruition with the 4-1 approval from the Waurika City Commission.
Mayor Gayle Johnson provided lone dissenting vote. Her vote didn’t sit well with Jerry Wallace, chairman of JCEDA.
“As mayor, with the little bit of business we have in Waurika, I don’t understand how the head of this city can turn down any jobs,” Wallace said, addressing Johnson. “If we sit and do nothing, this city is going to stay down. We won’t get anything else to come here except something like this.
“If you can’t lead, you need to get out of the way.”
The item was deemed a necessity when Wallace learned because the proximity of the potential prison to the nearest school, special permission must be garnered from city and school board officials. The item first showed up on the agenda of the Waurika City Commission last month. The commissioners, however, tabled the decision to see what the Waurika School Board elected to do. A week later, the school board approved the measure with only one dissenting vote.
“If it’s fine with the school board it’s fine with me,” City Commissioner Rubye Benson said.
In other action:
- The City Commissioner approved a $90 Christmas bonus to be paid to each of the City’s employees — full time and part time.
- n The City Commission approved moving its 2012 meetings to the second Monday of each month. Currently the meeting is the first Monday of every month.
- The City Commission approved an $1,800 invoice from Myers Engineers for services rendered. The amount is down considerably from last month’s $10,000 invoice.
“We asked for an itemized bill so we can see exactly what was done,” Johnson said. “This month our bill is down considerably.”
n The City Commission approved paying an unpaid invoice from Bartling Insurance/Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group for the third and fourth quarter of the 2010-11 year.
n The City Commission retreated into executive session to discuss and evaluate the performance of Waurika City Manager Chuck Brown. Brad Scott, president of the Waurika Chamber of Commerce, expressed displeasure with this during the public hearing portion of the meeting.
“If there are issues they need to be handled as soon as possible,” Scott said. “This creates a constant rift in the city. This isn’t normal to evaluate someone this often.”