Exeter alderman resigns

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Health concerns leave open spot until April

A spot on the Exeter City Council will remain open until the April Municipal Elections after one of the city’s aldermen submitted a letter of resignation in December.

Keith Johnson said in a letter to the city he was resigning his post, due to health concerns. Myrna Eisenbraun, city clerk in Exeter, said the city will wait to fill the seat until April to avoid having a special election.

The seat is the second public office to be left open until April in the city, as no special election will be held for mayor after the passing of Rusty Reed.

In other city business, Exeter officials accepted a $250 donation in Reed’s honor, which he specified should be used for the Community Building. The council voted to use the money or renovations of the bathroom in the building.

Work continues to hire a new city attorney, as per recommendation, the city has divided its city attorney and city prosecutor positions.

“It is not mandated by state law that we split the positions, but it was recommended the best practice is to have them split,” Eisenbraun said.

Attorneys Blake Fields and Darlene Parrigon have applied for the city attorney position, with Fields offering a $100 monthly retainer fee, with charges to be determined later if more work is needed. Parrigon would charge $150 per hour, but no retainer fee. The council voted to table the matter to get in writing what instances would require more payment for Fields.

The council has not discussed hiring a full-time police chief, and Lindsey Dooley, a previous officer with the city, has been acting as interim chief. Willie Stephens has also been hired as an officer in the department.

Discussions were had about the city hall building’s deterioration, including how a brick had fallen off the building, how the south wall is beginning to bow and allows a leak in the window during major storms, and how the back door of the building allows water to enter during storms. The council discussed looking at the building to the south, the former Sorensen property, as a possible new location for city hall, but the issue was tabled for later discussion.

Performance bonuses were awarded to city employees, with $925 total spread among the city’s seven employees.

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