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Filed 04/06/2006 Updated after 4PM for next day...
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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News 

  • Lake Residents angry with legislature’s action on Boat Ban Bill
  • Calhoun County Sheriffs Department in new trucks
  • Talladega Council meeting turns into shouting match
  • Attorney threatens to sue city of Attalla if raises are rescinded


Lake Residents angry with legislature’s action on Boat Ban Bill 

Opponents of a proposed ban of houseboats on several Alabama lakes are upset and are accusing legislators and Alabama Power Company of pushing the bill thru without public input.  The opponents offer as proof a public hearing on the bill held Tuesday at the capitol which was not publicized and only supporters of the legislation were informed and invited to participate.  Rep. Gerald Dial of Lineville who first introduced the legislation was there with supporters along with representatives from Alabama Power who support the ban.  Critics of the legislation have termed it “stealth legislation” because the public was not aware of the plan until they were alerted by the news media and by that time the bill was well on its way thru the legislative process.  The bill could hit the senate floor for a vote as early as today.  The bill in its current form would ban boats longer than 30 feet 6 inches on Weiss, Martin and Harris lakes.  Existing boats on the lakes would be grandfathered.  The bill also bans boats longer than 26 feet 11 inches long that can exceed 60 miles per hour from all lakes in the state.


Calhoun County Sheriffs Department in new trucks 

The Calhoun County Sheriffs department’s strategy for the recent purchase of ten new F-250 pickup trucks for their patrol fleet includes the sale of the trucks in two years.  While the cost of the pickups are about eight thousand dollars more per vehicle that the customary Crown Victoria police cruiser,  the resale value of the trucks are much higher, as high as seventeen thousand dollars compared to a few hundred dollars for the crown vic’s.  According to Chief Deputy Mathew Wade, the purchase is a smart move for the department.  Wade said that when the trucks are sold in two years the money from the sale will go into a fund along with pistol permit fees and money allocated by the Calhoun County Commission to replace the trucks.  Wade said that for the same money, they can buy a larger fleet of cars or maintain a fleet of newer vehicles.  The newer vehicles will be under warranty which would save the county about fifty thousand dollars a year in repair costs it currently pays for the sedans.


Talladega Council meeting turns into shouting match 

This weeks Talladega City Council Meeting brought angry response from Council President Eddie Tucker when city manager Thomas Christie attempted to request pay scale revisions in three city departments.  Christie’s action brought an angry objection from Tucker who refused to allow the issue to be discussed and attempted to fire Christie and call an attempted to call what would have been an illegal executive session to discuss Christie’s job as city manager.  Christie attempted to bring up the issue because the pay scale issue has been a problem for the past two years.  Last month the council voted to move fire lieutenants and captains up two steps on the cities pay matrix.  One of the problems is that the acting fire chief is being paid less than some of his employees.  Christie told the council that he had received requests from three department heads when tucker cut him off saying he has that it be removed from the agenda and that the manager was out of order.    The council voted to request an attorney general’s opinion on whether or not the constitutional amendment changing the cities form of government and the civil service law trumped a state law saying a city manager cannot supervise employees of a municipal utility, such as water and sewer operations.  While some council members wanted the request drafted by the city attorney, Tucker declared the letter would be drafted by the city clerk, overriding council objections.



Attorney threatens to sue city of Attalla if raises are rescinded 

An attorney representing ten Attalla city employees has threatened to sue the city if the council eliminates raises of more than three percent that were given by the Mayor.  Tom King told the city council during a due process hearing for employees that if they rescinded the raises they could expect to be in court.  The raises were given without the council’s knowledge last year by Mayor Charles O’Rear to department heads and some administrative employees.  The way the mayor gave the raises was questioned by the council at their March 7th meeting.  Council member said they should have been consulted and allowed to vote on the raises.  The Mayor said he followed traditions of the past in giving the raises to employees who are not members of one of three unions with which the mayor negotiates work agreements.  Council members took issue with the mayor’s actions, citing state law that stipulates the City Council has authority over city finances and raises.  The council is expected to announce their decision when they meet Thursday morning. 


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