By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – The Water Valley Board of Aldermen breezed through a lengthy agenda during the April 2 meeting that started with newly elected Alderman-at-Large Herbert Rogers taking the oath of office.
After Rogers was seated, marking the first time that city representation included all five aldermen and the mayor since November, Mayor Donald Gray opened the meeting asking for civility.
“As board members, we are going to disagree at times and that’s fine, we all have different opinions. But we can do it in a very civil manner, speak your opinions but let’s be very conscious of other people’s opinions,” Gray said.
Next Ward 2 Alderman Fred White questioned the seating arrangement, explaining that in past years the vice mayor has always sat on the opposite end of the table from the mayor, facing the other aldermen.
“That is the way it has been all the time, since I have been on the board for 33 years,” White explained.
“We will just go ahead tonight, there is no ideal way to sit,” Gray countered, referring to the around-the-table seating arrangement, which puts some aldermen with their backs to the audience.
Ward One Alderman Kagan Coughlin explained that in past months, aldermen rotated seats so the same aldermen do not have their back to the audience at each meeting.
“I have my same seat for all 33 years,” White noted.
“Mr. White, I would never tell you where to sit,” Coughlin said.
“You better not,” White added.
After handling the agenda, aldermen tackled one more house-keeping issue at the end of the 90-minute meeting before entering executive session to discuss personnel issues.
“We have a full board, we had a discussion last month about the frequency of our meetings and we were missing our newest board member,” Coughlin said. “At our of last discussion on having two meetings we were split, so I am very interested in hearing Herbie’s thoughts on how frequently we should meet.”
“At this time, I feel like as we have the new board members we need to take a little more time to actually digest what we are given. Twice a month is a little much for me at this time until we get a little more acclimated to what we are doing,” Rogers answered. “My feeling is one per month is substantial at this time, but if we do need a special meeting, I am in all agreement for that.”
Gray reminded aldermen that if a special meeting is needed, two aldermen or the mayor can request it.
Aldermen then voted 3-2 to revert back to one meeting a month, beginning in May with Ward 2 Alderman Fred White, Ward 4 Alderman Nicole Folson and Rogers voting for one regularly scheduled meeting.
Last month aldermen voted 2-2 to have one meeting a month, with Gray voting to break the tie in favor of one meeting a month. In both votes, Coughlin and Ward 3 Alderman Cinnamon Foster voted in favor of having two regularly scheduled meetings a month.