By Ray King

With Mayor Shirley Washington casting the deciding vote Monday, the City Council’s Administration committee upheld the three-day suspension given to a Code Enforcement Officer.

Committee Chairman Lloyd Holcomb said he had read the files and heard the dialog between the Officer, Brae McDonald and Code Enforcement Director Karla Williams and the fact was that McDonald had failed to perform his duties. Holcomb moved to uphold the suspension.

Council member Steven Mays voted against the motion, saying he was “not going to go against my inspector” and with the third member of the committee, Council Member Donald Hatchett absent, the deciding vote fell to the Mayor.

“I applaud Ms. Williams for holding her employees accountable,” Washington said. “If he had done what he was supposed to do, the ward wouldn’t look like it does.”

Allegations against McDonald included his failure to send notices to the owners of burned out properties that were being considered for abatement by certified mail, sending them by regular mail instead, resulting in the process having to be restarted. He was also accused of failing to follow an already established checklist.

In his statement, McDonald said the three-day suspension “seemed unfair.” Williams responded by saying that this was the third disciplinary action taken against McDonald, following a verbal warning and written warning.

When McDonald continued to argue, Holcomb closed the appeal hearing.

Also Monday, Holcomb and Mays agreed to a request to add an additional code enforcement officer in the Urban Renewal area and send the recommendation to the full council with a do-pass recommendation. That person will be paid $26,620.

The shifting of a part-time employee to full-time status in the economic and community development department also received a do-pass recommendation. Lori Walker, the assistant director of the department said the request was being made because the city has received extra funding for its homeless program and the work volume will increase. The person will be paid $28,205 annually.