Town council discusses parade, multiple personnel matters
CHINA GROVE — The China Grove Town Council spent a majority of the open portion of its meeting on the Southern Rowan Christmas Parade, but spent nearly four times the amount of time in closed session discussing multiple personnel matters, according to town attorney Tom Brooke.
Council members agreed that the 2014 parade was a success and praised emergency personnel for responding quickly when a young boy fell off of a float near the end of the parade. Next year, however, the parade may be pushed back a few hours because of school schedules, said China Grove Mayor Don Bringle.
Bringle and Landis Mayor James Furr met with Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Lynn Moody two weeks ago to discuss how school schedules might conflict with the parade, which is more than 30 years old. One of Bringle’s and Furr’s concerns was that school schedules mean the southern Rowan County high schools would be unable to participate.
Bringle said the parade could likely continue on the same day, but would start in China Grove near dusk or about 5 p.m. Instead of starting at 3 p.m. He said next year’s parade might start one hour later, at 4 p.m.
“I appreciate the fact that she allowed myself and Mayor Furr to talk with her,” Bringle said about the meeting with Moody. “It does look like we’ll continue the process … For the safety of the children, we are looking at having to route them back to the elementary school, where there’s sufficient lighting. There will just have to be some logistics that we work out between now and next year just because of the time of day.”
After Bringle finished discussing changes for next year’s parade, councilman Brandon Lin lauded the response of law enforcement and other emergency personnel when a child on a youth football team float fell onto the road. The child was released from the hospital a few hours after the incident with road rash on his leg.
The most lengthy part of Tuesday’s meeting was a closed session, listed on the agenda as addressing personnel matters. The closed session, which began 11 minutes after the meeting started, lasted until 7:55, when the council reconvened in open session. No action was taken following the closed session.
Brooke said one of the personnel matters addressed was the town’s fire chief situation. Currently, Mike Zimmerman is serving in a dual role, as the interim China Grove and Bostian Heights fire chief. Zimmerman took the interim role when Jeff Gledhill, the former chief, resigned in October for personal reasons.
Brooke said Zimmerman wasn’t a central topic of conversation during the closed session. He said Zimmerman was one of multiple personnel issues discussed during the closed session.
“In personnel matters, there’s a lot involved,” Brooke said. “People are messy. There’s a lot of things to discuss.”
In other business from Tuesday’s meeting:
• The council voted to change its regular meeting time from 7 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It was the second straight meeting that the time change was considered. During November’s meeting, the time change didn’t receive a second. On Tuesday, no council member voted against the change.
• Town Manager Ken Deal said the town has already ordered a public address system for the council’s meeting room. Deal didn’t provide an exact date when the system would be installed, but said it could be in place by the January meeting.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246
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