The Town of Garland met in a special session Tuesday night, with the gathered group striving for resolutions to concerns among the board, marking a milestone towards the town’s growth which, they said, will hopefully lead to a renewed sense of focus.
“We have to remember we are guardians of the public interest,” said Mayor Winifred Murphy to the board. “We need to bring everything back into perspective.”
A recent change that allows an emergency fund at town hall has the potential to relieve some of the stress board members have been encountering in regards to dealing with emergencies.
“Part of it is about communication,” noted Murphy. Murphy, who expressed her desires to have a close working relationship between board members.
At the last meeting the board approved having $250 available for the town finance clerk to pull from in the event that there is an emergency and materials are needed immediately to make repairs. If there is an unexpected expense, there would be an emergency meeting of the finance committee.
“If there is an emergency situation the finance committee would handle the emergency situation, and approve it prior to coming to the board,” stated Murphy.
The board also discussed the necessary guidelines and responsibilities of the commissioners with plans for members to review them before the next meeting, scheduled for next Tuesday.
“At each meeting I am requesting each chair make a report so we can make recommendations … so we can also include the committee report… as part of the minute book for each meeting,” stated Murphy. By doing this, the board, she said, will be able to look back at the meeting minutes and keep better track of what is going on in the town, particularly as it pertains to road repairs or other needed maintenance.
“Would it be wrong for her to outline those duties?” asked Commissioner Carolyn Melvin. Mayor Murphy expressed her desire to have clarification of the duties in order to better assess what is going on with the town.
“She can suggest whatever she wants,” stated Commissioner Ralph Smith.
“There shouldn’t be a problem with it, the mayor outlining the duties,” stressed Melvin.
“I don’t know what goes on with all of the (committees),” said Murphy. She explained that often things fall through the cracks, with simple things like making sure they have antifreeze before a cold snap for weatherization. Her other concern was that often assumptions have been made that someone else was taking care of an issue which led to the absence of follow through.
“I am trying to assist with a starting point,” said Murphy. She wants the town to be more organized, and focused on things like inventory, in order to help alleviate some of the problems and concerns, she said.
“We used to have a checklist,” added Commissioner S.J. Smith.
“I think we need to start somewhere,” interjected Commissioner Michael Strickland. “I think leadership starts at the top.”
“Everything I do is about Garland and moving it forward,” Murphy replied. “I want to make Garland shine.” With everyone putting their issues aside and having made proposed changes, like the emergency fund, Garland will be better able to focus on the day to day concerns, leading to great improvements for the town, stronger organization, and an organized approach to making the town better able to cope, she added.
“I don’t think anybody on this board is here because you don’t care about Garland,” stated Murphy. “I feel like all of us care about the town of Garland.”
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.