Council decides on new city clerk
by Elsie Hodnett
Jan 08, 2014 | 2359 views |  0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Candace Smith
Candace Smith
RIVERSIDE – The City Council unanimously voted to hire a new city clerk at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The unanimous vote to hire Candace Smith as the new city clerk came after a vote to table the issue to the next work session failed in a 4-2 vote. Mayor Rusty Jessup and councilmen Jimmy Hollander, Frank Riddle and Kenny Womack voted against tabling the city clerk vote to the work session and councilmen Bill Cantley and Johnny Osborn voted for tabling the issue to the work session for further discussion.

Jessup said the official hire date is March 1. Current City Clerk Rhonda Johnston’s retirement date is May 1.

“After our last discussion, I thought we were going to discuss this further,” Osborn said. “I spoke with Rusty and Jimmy yesterday and thought we would discuss it further.”

Jessup said any councilman could make a motion and any councilman could also make a motion to table the issue. Osborn made the motion to table the issue and Cantley seconded the motion before it failed to pass.

Cantley said the reason he voted to table the matter was due to a procedural question, and that he was in favor of the candidate.

“It is nothing against Candace,” Osborn said. “I am talking about upcoming personnel changes.”

Jessup said he felt the new city clerk should be a part of upcoming personnel changes discussion.

“We’ve been discussing this for a month-and-a-half,” Hollander said. “There are city clerk classes that start next month. We need to make a decision.”

Osborn said he felt one week would not make that much of a difference.

“But then we would have to wait until the next council meeting to have a vote,” Hollander said.

Jessup said he didn’t know if putting off the vote would solve anything or change anything.

“I don’t think Candace would get everyone’s support, but I don’t think any one candidate would get all the support,” he said. “At some point you have to grit your teeth and vote.”

Prior to the motions, Womack spoke to Smith, who was present at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“I’ve heard about the candidates and heard good things about you,” he said to Smith. “After the mayor, we depend on the department heads—fire, police, water—and also the city clerk. It is a big responsibility for the town. You have to stay late and are on call 24/7. Are you sure you want the job?”

Smith said she really does want the city clerk job.

“I like a challenge,” she said.

Smith said her husband, Brandon, has family in Riverside and grew up in Riverside. The couple currently lives in Pell City, where she grew up, with their two children.

She said the family may look to move to Riverside on the lake in the future.

“I am very excited to serve the community,” she said. “I look forward to it.”

In other matters Tuesday the council:

O Awarded the bid for the River Bend Project to F&D Enterprises Inc. doing business as Walker Excavating in the amount of $163,932. The project will take 30-40 working days, not including weather days or Sundays. Work is expected to begin as soon as possible and must be completed while Logan Martin Lake is at its winter pool drawdown.

O Approved a liquor license for Bootleggers Lounge for the new manager.

O Announced a park cleanup day of Feb. 1.

O Announced the Riverside Landing bait shop has a new lessee.

O Approved to advertise for a referendum on seven-day alcohol sales. Jessup said the request for a referendum is required before the state will allow a vote, and does not signify approval or disapproval for Sunday alcohol sales, but simply allows the people to vote on the issue.

O Announced that the offer for the city to purchase the Riverside Utilities Services sewer system ran out Dec. 31, 2013 and the city did not respond to the offer. Jessup said purchasing the sewer system is not off the table, but will not happen with the expired contract.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at