City of Cordele Commission Meeting July 18, 2023

Published 3:12 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

The Cordele City Commission met on Tuesday July 18, 2023 at 9am at the Cordele City Hall Courtroom with Chairman Joshua Deriso, Commissioner Vest Beal Shepard, Commissioner Isaac H. Owens, Commissioner Royce Reeves, Sr., Commissioner Wesley Rainey and City attorney, Tommy Coleman in attendance. The meeting started with a presentation by Mauldin & Jenkins, CPAS and Advisors, Justin Elliot CPA: FY 2022 Audit. Justin went through the audit for everyone, explaining what is normal and what needs to be changed.

We then heard from the Department Heads starting with the Finance Director, Rusty Bridgers. He spoke about the audit and thanked Justin for his hard work. The departments goal and achievements, they have done well on what they set out to achieve, they are doing cross training, a lot of work on cleaning up old records and getting processes current. Then we heard from Cordele Fire Chief, Todd Alligood who spoke about the departments goals and achievements. They are still encouraging their fire fighters to continue training, still evaluating and updating facilities and equipment. They are working with the Cordele Police Department on putting together Summerfest, that will occur in August. They have expaned ems and motor vehicle service. They are now at full staff after their most recent hire. They are stating today doing joint training with Crisp County Fire Department, Crisp County Sheriff’s Department. Crisp County EMS and Cordele Police Department. They have completed stripping and waxing of station 1 and station 2. They have a lot made stucco repairs and other repairs on station 1. He wants to recognize the fire fighters for their hard work, on top of going to calls, they are doing maintenance to stations. They are looking forward to the new ladder truck, ladder 3 is currently out of service due to mechanical error. He also gave credit to Debbie at the water department for their work, as they tested a water hydrant on Platteville and had great water pressure. Art Gould from Deen Fire Protection sent Alligood an email saying, “This is the best public water supply I have ever seen anywhere in Georgia.” Housing and Urban Development Director was not present, report was given by City Manager, Angela Redding. Chief Codes Official, not much has changed on their reports, 3 houses in the 800 block are going to get rehabilitated instead of demolished. On the ongoing demolitions 3 separate demos in progress, all of which are being done by owners. We then heard from Cordele Police Chief, Jalon Heard the department goals have remained the same, the department plans to focus on moral and manpower, patrol officers is currently full they are currently looking for Sergeants and Corporals. They are also continue community policing thorugh events and public contacts, with such events like the second annual Summerfest that will be happening August 10, 10am-2pm. Training is continuing to go on throughout the department. Following we heard from Public Works Director, they don’t have much to report, pubic awareness program has been completed. Finally, we heard from UC&T director Debbie, who wants to remind people that you can only irrigate between 4pm and 10am. They have also passed their 11th sample test as long as July’s passes they will hopefully not have to continue with these tests, which will save the city money. Electrical work needed to be done at the pump house and they have been resolved, the wet test required by permit has been passed. They have identified 30 customers that they will test for lead and copper, letters will be sent out in the coming weeks.

Agenda item number one consider and approve an event permit and to use Williams Field: Name of Event – Trunk or Treat, Organizer Names, ABC Wrecker and Recovery, Cordele, GA and South GA Spill Response, Warwick, GA. Event will be October 28, 2023, 12PM-6PM, Williams Field, East 15th Avenue. The event permit was approved by Police Chief Jalon Heard on July 14, 2023. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Agenda item number two consider and approve the request for items listed from the Fire Department to be declared surplus and to allow the City of Cordele to dispose of the surplus items via This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Agenda item number three consider and approve the first reading of and ordinance establishing an entertainment district in the City of Cordele; Providing for specialty cups for the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the entertainment district; regulating the consumption of alcohol off premises in the entertainment district; repealing all ordinances in conflict herewith; and for other purposes. Commissioner Owens asked how the speciality cup will come into play. City Manager Redding clarified that the cups will be provided by the Downtown for specific events. These cups will have the date of the event, so that they know the cups being used are associated with the current event. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Agenda item number four consider and approve award of the classification and compensation study to Condrey & Associates, Inc. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Agenda item number five consider and approve bank signatories for 2023 TSPLOST account with Ameris Bank. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Agenda item number six consider overriding veto of ordinance removing all references to ethics tribunal and replacing them with hearing officer and adoption of ordinance removing all references to ethics tribunal and replacing them with hearing officer. Deriso asked if any of the commissioners had anything to discuss, nothing was said. Deriso spoke up and said, “He vetoed this item because the prior commission was an error replacing acquitting two people on the ethics tribunal and as the charter was written the chairman gets to place two individuals. At that time we had two individuals that was not qualified to be on the ethics tribunal. Once I brought this up to the governing body they decided to switch things and do the hearing officer. Upon more research the city of College Park is going through this now. A hearing officer will cost the city more money, also usually an attempt to control the process in my belief is not democratic. The tribunal was three citizens that were appointed even until their time expires. So, a chairman coming in or anybody else coming in doe not necessarily get to replace them unless there is a disqualification or something happened. And because we are a democratic society you have three people making a decision verses one, hat would volunteer their time to hearing ethics complaints brought to the city. I believe that is democratic, I believe we shouldn’t spend money on selecting a hearing officer and if the person on the ethics review have any issues, does not make it political just because we have one person. It absolutely can make it even more political given that persons background, beliefs or any relationship with the one with the ethics complaint. Those are the reasons in which I vetoed the ordinance because I don’t think you should strip power from the chairman. And should move to a more anti-democratic process to hear ethics complaints brought agents public officials of this city.” Deriso then asked for any further discussion in which Commissioner Rainey spoke up saying that he believes that it is not fair for you to choose who heard your ethics complaint. The ordinance can be changed after the fact. There was nothing wrong with the other people on the ethics tribunal except for the fact that they lived outside of the city. Rainey continued by saying, “After how this commission body has conducted itself over this last year an half, you can see the negative return from the financials and everything reflecting upon this commission. This commission is to powerful, what we need to do is revise the entire ethics ordinance because we have no repercussions on this commission for our actions. Whenever we go out and talk about other commissioners there is no repercussion whenever we get out of line, or the chairman sits here and say out of order, there is no repercussions. The chairman doesn’t like for people to point at him. The only repercussions is from the people. And the people have that repercussion by reelecting us or not. Now how we conduct ourselves had been horrible, and it reflected by businesses not coming here by people looking at us as the laughing stock by everyone everywhere we go asking what is going on n Cordele. All this reflects poorly on us as a city. We need to have repercussions against commissioners that act out of line every last one of us whenever we don’t conduct ourselves properly. We can sit here and do whatever we want. The police chief, fire chief, everyone is on edge around us. It’s just not right, this is not right. When an employee gets written up so many times they are fired, we don’t have that standard. So, we need to have a standard once we are elected. So, this right here it is not right for the chairman to sit there and be able to choose the people to hear his ethics complaint, that’s not right. So the heating officer in this particular situation is the way to go. After all this is finished we can go back and elect citizens and everything but for this particular situation I believe this is the way to go.” Deriso said that Rainey is inaccurate and that he (Deriso) does not have one ethics complaint to be heard by the ethics committee. Deriso continues to call Rainey a liar, and mentioning that they are trying to strip the chairman authority and that it is a plot set up he also brings up racism and continues to call out Rainey calling him a racist. Comissioner Royce Reeves speaks up regarding the ethics complaints against him and addresses what Deriso said in regards to Rainey working with the rest of the commissioners. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved with one nay.

This discussion continues to go on, for the full story check out the video on Facebook and Youtube.

Agenda item number seven consider overriding veto of ordinance establishing procedures for the development of an agenda and adoption of ordinance establishing procedures for the development of an agenda. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved with one nay.

There was further discussion regarding this matter for the full story please check out the video on out on our Facebook and Youtube pages.

We then heard the City Managers report from Angela Redding, with a few announcements. The water department will be making repairs; water in parts of the city will be turned off July 19th starting at 9am. Water will remain off until the repairs are complete. These areas include 20th ave from 3rd St to 5th St and 4th St from 19th ave to 21st ave. Once service is resorted customers will experince water discoloration please allow the water to run for 30 min and if it continues please call the water treatment plant. Also in the report, Insurance renewals for 2023-2024, the governing body needs to approve this. This item was properly moved, seconded, and approved unanimously. There is a new restaurant in town Jamaican Jerk. The city of Cordele also received a thank you card from Crisp County Sheriff’s Department.