Friday, July 24, 2009

July 24, 2009 City Council To Move Forward With Termination of Crumley While Negotiations over Price of an "Agreed Retirement" Continue

After budget discussions concluded yesterday afternoon in the tiny Conference Room at City Center, frank discussion of City Administrator Jim Crumley's exodus began.

The City initally offered Crumley approximately $110,000 to leave. Crumley recently countered with a proposal to "retire" at a cost to the city of a $129,000 severance payment, $43,000 more for accumulated sick leave and vacation pay, plus continuation of health insurance on the same terms as other city "retirees."

Yesterday, Councilmembers Kay Senter, Bob Garrett, Gene Brooks, and Claude Jinks decided to expedite Crumley's exodus one way or the other. A little after 11:00 yesterday morning, just beating the 12:00 deadline, Kay added the matter to council's agenda for next Tuesday's 4:00 PM meeting.

Mayor Barile, who has been totally dependent on Crumley ever since taking office in 2007, doesn't want to see Crumley go. Doc Rooney, who has been in office almost continuously since who knows when, doesn't want to see Crumley go. [Frank McGuffin was not present yesterday.]

The council appears to be taking a two-pronged approach at this time: proceeding with forced termination for stated reasons on one track and discussing the terms of a negotiated exit on the other track.

City attorney Dick Jessee will prepare the official removal document and then send it to the mayor and councilmembers who can state their reasons for removal, if any, in time for Tuesday's meeting.

Fireworks--or a series of little bombs and sparklers-- erupted over Reporter Bob Moore's article stating that Crumley "has a tape that appears to suggest that at least one councilmember had a 'hit list' that targeted one or more city employees' jobs." In his July 22 article, Moore added that "The city administrator has declined to publicly discuss the details of the tape or which councilmember is on the tape."

Councilmember Claude Jinks was ticked off, to say the least, at the reporting that hinted at a hit list and the rumors that swirled about saying that Claude Jinks was the councilmember who was "taped" and who had the employee "hit list." Jinks wanted this straightened out.

Yesterday, Jim Crumley provided additional information about the "tape" and the "hit list" mentioned in Bob Moore's Wednesday article. Crumley said that the tape, contrary to the newspaper article, was not of any councilmember. Crumley said that the tape was of Clifford Jinks, a relative of councilmember Claude Jinks.

From what was said yesterday, it appears that Clifford Jinks left a message or voicemail for Claude Jinks and Crumley had somehow gotten hold of it. Clifford Jinks' message apparently voiced support for getting rid of Crumley and expressed support for getting rid of assistant City Administrator Buddy Fielder as well.

Claude Jinks said he wanted it known that he did not have an employee "hit list." He added that the newspaper report that implied that a councilmember had been taped talking about a "hit list" made it sound criminal and stirred rumors that it was councilmember Claude Jinks on the tape when it was actually his relative Clifford Jinks who had left a message for Claude that was somehow obtained by City Administrator Jim Crumley.

Bob Moore, who was present at yesterday's meeting, did not comment.

The question that was not asked nor answered is, How did Crumley get a tape of a voice message that had been left for Claude Jinks?

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