Rockmart City Council approves creation of chief financial officer position

Pam Herring talks with Rockmart City Attorney Mike McRae prior to the start of last week’s city council meeting. Herring was approved as the city’s new chief financial officer at the meeting after serving 19 years as city clerk.

A new job position was approved by the Rockmart City Council last week with a reliable and familiar person ready to step into a new role.

The board passed an amendment to the 128-year-old city’s charter at its July 14 meeting that creates the new position of chief financial officer, and then approved the appointment of longtime City Clerk Pam Herring to the role.

Both votes were unanimous and mark a slight change in Herring’s duties as she focuses solely on the city’s finances while the regular duties of the city clerk are now the responsibility of Stacey Smith, who most recently served as Rockmart’s director of community development.

Smith’s appointment was also unanimously approved.

Both appointments were adopted with the stipulation that both employees receive specified job descriptions and evaluation lists in the near future.

Herring has served as city clerk since 2001, while Smith has been community development director since 2005.

The changes inside the city administration come as Rockmart starts the new fiscal year. Herring said that she is still waiting on the final bills to be paid for June before submitting the final financial report for FY 2020 to the council to review and prepare for the coming audit.

In other action, the city council approved a $670,000 loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Agency that will allow the city to run new raw water lines in the area of Plum Street, across the field near the former J.L. Lester estate near Church Street, and connect to the lines along West Elm Street near Richardson Field and The Depot events center.

That is just part of a $1.5 million project that will also allow crews to convert areas at the Rockmart Wastewater Treatment Plant into additional digester space to be able to handle more sludge capacity instead of having to haul it off.

An additional $600,000 through an Appalachian Regional Commission grant is waiting to be approved to help with the project. The city would be required to make a match of $230,000 to comply with the grant requirements.

“This would help us provide more than what is needed and allows us to meet and exceed the water needs for the city for many, many years to come,” City Manager Jeff Ellis said.

The loan’s terms would be over a 20-year period, but Ellis recalled the city has had success in repaying loans in fewer years than initially set.

The city council also heard from Slate City Shrine Club representative Harold McDurmon, who asked the council to reconsider banning the group from collecting money from motorists at intersections within the city.

Rockmart put a stop to the practice after complaints about a different group soliciting people at intersections led to a review of the state law and it was discovered such activity is not permitted on state highways.

McDurmon said they have liability insurance on each member that is out at the donation spots and they never are aggressive toward anyone to get them to give money to help the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Mayor Sherman Ross said he appreciates all of the work the Shriners do to help children, but it is a matter of complying with state law. City Attorney Mike McRae said there could be an ordinance to allow solicitation on a locally-owned public street, but there would still be liability issues for the city.

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