It began with a lecture. That was the tone of the April 22 meeting of the Sturgeon Board of Aldermen.
Speaking over the phone, Sturgeon City Attorney Cydney Mayfield presented a program at the meeting’s beginning regarding the role of an alderperson. She reminded them that they had statutory duties, mean what they did had to be supported by city statute. “Only the body as a whole can act to direct city employees. Regarding directing city employees, she said, “If not acting with the direction of the body as a whole, you can be held legally liable.”
Besides the four aldermen, city clerk and outgoing mayor, an audience of 11 took in the presentation. She stressed if there were doubts to “Always consult your city attorney, that is why they are there.”
The also discussed an ordinance regarding alcohol at the Sturgeon Recreation Center, fairgrounds and other city properties, requiring liability insurance from either the renter or the vendor contracted to serve the alcohol if events held there were to include alcohol? “The rec board did not request this ordinance,” said Johnny Robinson. “Before you adopt this ordinance, it will reduce the revenue for the city. “We’ve gone along 18 years without a problem…”
Jared Robinson, speaking from the audience had a question. “How come this is just now an issue, it is going to effect the fairgrounds as well.” He said the fairgrounds could lose at least two events. He asked if a waiver would be possible.
Aldermen and mayor-elect Steve Crosswhite said they had looked at a waiver and it would not provide the protection a liability policy would.
Crosswhite said he had examined recreation center recreation agreements and only a few would involve alcohol. “We have a duty to protect the city and we have two professionals, our city attorney and our insurance company and both say we need the additional protection a liability policy provides.” He said opting for a liability policy transfers some of the risk away from the city to whoever is renting the liability policy.
“The insurance has to be provided,” Mayfield said.
Jared also asked if the policy would apply to volunteers there to work on the grounds and brought their own beer. Mayfield said it would.
“It’s going to cause a lot of headaches and a lot problems,” outgoing mayor Danny Joiner said. “If we don’t and the unthinkable happens we might as well open up the checkbook,” replied Crosswhite.
Before voting they struck the phrase “and rec. board,” to address Robinson’s first concern.
The ordinance passed unanimously.
Stan Robinson suggested the city would be in breach of contract regarding events booked before the ordinance’s passage.
“Just one lawsuit would break the city,” said Alderman Ron Sage. “That’s just the way it is now.”
For the complete article see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.