July 13, 2017 9:51:46 AM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
The future of West Point's chief administrative officer is unclear after an attempt to reappoint him died at the table Tuesday evening.
Ward 4 Selectman Keith McBrayer moved to reappoint Chief Administrative Officer Randy Jones during the meeting. However, his motion died without a second. Selectmen did not appoint another chief administrative officer and did not vote on Tuesday to terminate Jones' employment with the city.
Mayor Robbie Robinson said the board's decision shocked him. However, he said Jones is still working with the city for the time being because the board did not vote to terminate him. He said the non-vote puts the city in "a very odd place."
"This thing is in limbo right now," Robinson said. "He's still here. Randy and I worked together (Wednesday) morning. He's very valuable to the city."
Jones has worked with the city of West Point since 1999. He's served as special assistant to the mayor, city clerk, deputy chief administrative officer and chief administrative officer. He's served in his current role, as CAO, since 2008. Jones has a $92,000 annual salary.
Jones declined to comment on the board's decision.
Robinson said Jones works with department heads to oversee the city's day-to-day operations, adding Jones also interprets city codes and zoning ordinances, ensures that state and federal laws are properly followed, and makes sure board policies are enacted.
Selectmen unanimously reappointed the board attorney, city clerk, city judge and city prosecutor on Tuesday.
Ward 1 Selectman Leta Turner, who attended her first meeting as a new board member on Tuesday, said she felt she didn't know Jones well enough to support his reappointment.
"I don't feel I had a (strong enough) professional relationship with Mr. Jones to have been in a position to second it," Turner said. "That's the reason I didn't support it -- I didn't feel comfortable seconding it."
Turner declined to say if she believes the city should fire Jones or seek another chief administrative officer.
Ward 2 Selectman William Binder said he did not have any issues previously working with Jones. However, he would not say why he didn't support Jones' reappointment.
"I don't really want to comment on that," Binder said.
It's unclear how long Jones can continue working for the city without the board's reappointment. McBrayer said Jones might continue working until the meeting minutes are finalized and approved.
"Because there's no replacement in place, Mr. Jones will continue until that becomes finalized," he said. "It was not a vote to fire him. It was a non-vote to reappoint him as the chief city administrator.
"We're going to have to begin advertising for a replacement immediately because that will be a need that has to be replaced," he added. "Hopefully we'll have a good transition."
West Point city attorney Orlando Richmond refused to comment in a return email to The Dispatch.
Robinson and McBrayer said the board could still decide to reappoint Jones.
"The board could change its mind and come back to Mr. Jones," McBrayer said. "For some of the board members, it was their very first meeting and they haven't had any time with Mr. Jones. They may need more time to get used to him. That's what I would personally like to see. But it's at the will and pleasure of the board and I respect the decision."
1. Columbus man dies in head-on crash COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Lowndes supes OK budget with deficit, tax increase COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. Area students check out college options COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Human remains discovered on banks of Tenn-Tom COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. Aldermen pass amended alcohol ordinance STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY