By Ray King

Mayor Shirley Washington broke a 4-4 tie Tuesday night when she voted no to a resolution authorizing payment for an additional 162 hours of work by financial consultants George Stepps and William Moss.

The two were hired to help with the city’s 2022 budget a rate of $150 an hour for 100 hours, and an additional 100 hours at the same rate was later approved by the council.

A previous resolution authorized and approved paying Stepps and Moss $15,000 for the additional 100 hours they worked and the Mayor said they had been paid.

According to the resolution, Stepps and Moss worked the additional 162 hours without prior authorization from the council and asked for an additional $24.300 for payment.

Council members Lloyd Holcomb Jr., Glen Brown Jr., Joni Alexander and Steven Shaner all voted no with Alexander and Brown Jr., saying they didn’t agree to pay for hours that were not preauthorized and Alexander adding that she did not want to set a precedent in this instance.

Voting to give Stepps and Moss the additional money were council members Steven Mays, Ivan Whitfield, Glen Brown Sr., and Bruce Lockett who explained his reasons for voting yes to Deltaplex News.

The council also approved a resolution authorizing the Mayor to sign a professional services contract with Go Forward Pine Bluff to operate the City’s Business Innovation Hub, also known as the Generator.

Council member Holcomb was joined by Brown Jr., Alexander, Shaner and Lockett in voting for that legislation while Council members Mays, Whitfield and Brown Sr., voted no.

After the meeting, Holcomb, who was one of the sponsors of the resolution explained his vote.

Another resolution, this one authorizing the Mayor to contract with the Boys and Girls Club of Jefferson County was tabled at the request of one of its sponsors and will be considered later.