Council Divided on Public Works Director

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Minden has been short a Public Works Director for several years, however, the city may still lack one after Monday’s upcoming meeting of the Minden City Council.

During an agenda workshop Wednesday, council members and department heads discussed the appointment of 28-year-old Tyler Wallace to the position, an agenda item that met with a differing of opinions.

“You all had an opportunity to interview Tyler,” Minden Mayor Terry Gardner said. “I’d like to hear how you all feel.”

District A Councilman Wayne Edwards said he realizes everyone will have an opinion.

“I interviewed him and saw his resume, and I am of the opinion you need a much more experienced individual,” Edwards said. “In some ways, I wish we had an assistant’s position to train him and then move him up to the next level. Right now, I’m undecided about him.”

District D Councilman Michael Roy said he prefers someone young.

“My thought process is, I prefer a younger person because he can be trained,” Roy said. “We have to get somebody in here. He (Wallace) has the degree, he has the ability to learn and, as far as I know, the department heads are onboard.”

The city has budgeted between $70-82,000 annually, a lower amount than most cities pay the position of Public Works Director.

“With what the city has allotted to pay someone, we are not going to get anybody with a lot of experience,” District E Councilwoman Pam Bloxom said. “Tyler could be the one to step in and fill this position.”

Wallace, who is now in Austin, Texas, has lived in Minden before, and Bloxom said, he “really wants to come back and work for the city.

“He considers Minden his home,” she continued. “I consider that a trump card, so I’m for it.”

Vincen Bradford, Councilman for District C, said he will cast a dissenting vote at Monday’s meeting.

“It’s a ‘no’ for me,” he said. “Because y’all changed the job description. At one time, it said ‘job experience,’ now it says ‘degree.’”

Although the mayor and others attending claimed the description always required a degree, Bradford insisted there was nothing in writing concerning education.

He also said he would talk to his constituents and do as they wished, but he refused to interview the candidate when Gardner brought Wallace to Bradford’s business.

When asked why he did not want to interview Wallace, Bradford said he “had things to do.”

“You don’t bring somebody by my place of business,” Bradford said to Gardner. “What did I tell you?”

“You told me to get in my car and leave,” Gardner said.

Roy said he feels it is more important to do the best thing for the city as a whole.

“I have to make my decision on what’s best for the entire city and you guys,” he said, indicating the departments that would fall under the Public Works Director. We have a good candidate. Does he have the experience? No. Do I think he has the ability to work with these department heads? Yes, I do. He will be in a probationary period. If he doesn’t cut it, then we let him go and move on.”

District B Councilwoman Terika Walker did not attend the workshop.

Hiring of a Public Works Director remains on the Council agenda for next week. The Minden City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 7 at Minden City Hall. The public is invited to attend.

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