By Joel Hall
The city of Jonesboro will conduct a recount of the general election today at 1:30 p.m., at Clayton County Fire Station No. 13, located at 264 North Main Street in Jonesboro.
The recount could affect city council candidates Bobby Wiggins, who received 223 votes; Roger Grider, who got 207 votes; Wallace Norrington, with 175; Linda Wenz, with 172; Pat Sebo, with 169; Larry Boak, with 165, and Daniel Hudson, with 146. Those numbers are according to the original count from Nov. 6.
The recount will not affect the mayor's race between Joy Day and Luther Maddox, in which Maddox won outright with 271 votes to Day's 204 votes, nor will it affect the special election to fill Maddox's empty seat on the council, in which Billy Powell beat Donya Sartor with 243 votes to 198.
Wiggins, Grider and Norrington, the top three vote-getters, were declared winners on election night.
At Monday night's council meeting, Powell sat on the council for the first time, casting the deciding vote on several key items, including the city's decision to approve $35,000 for a feasibility study on a new Jonesboro 911 call center.
Grider, who put the item on the agenda, said the research was needed to find out what would be the least expensive option. "It will give us all of our options from the most expensive to the least expensive," said Grider, who is not pleased with the response times of the Clayton County Police Department, with whom the city currently contracts for 911 services.
"Right now, we are getting complaints, because sometimes they come 15 or 20 minutes late, because they are so busy with the county calls," Grider said.
The motion passed, even though Wenz, Wiggins, and Day voted against it. Wiggins suggested that $35,000 could be used to pay one dispatcher's salary for an entire year. Day suggested that the city needed to have more serious discussions with the county about the 911 dispatch system, before spending that much money on a research study.
"We really need somebody who knows what they are doing, because this is going to be a big, ongoing cost," said Day, urging the council to table the decision. The motion passed, however.
The council voted down an item put on the agenda by Wenz to authorize the city clerk to research a new purchasing policy for the city.
On Oct. 12, Judge Stephen E. Boswell, investigating officer in a recent review of the city's spending practices, suggested that the city tighten up several of its ordinances, particularly those dealing with city purchases. While Wenz believed the measure would put some of Boswell's suggestions into motion, the rest of the council disagreed, except for Wiggins.
Wenz said that the purchasing ordinances were "opened-ended" and needed to be "beefed up. "We need to give the clerk some avenues to research some other cities, so that we can get on track," she said.
Grider suggested that the spending policies didn't need to be changed and that any changes should take place when Maddox takes over as mayor in January.