Special presentations, COVID-19 employee protocols highlight Tuesday’s Piedmont City Council meeting

Piedmont City Council members present outgoing City Clerk Michelle Franklin with a plaque honoring her 30-plus years of service to the City of Piedmont on Tuesday evening. From left is District 3 councilman Jubal Feazell, District 4 councilman Caleb Pope, Mayor Bill Baker, Franklin, District 6 councilman David Ivey, District 7 councilman Terry Kiser, and District 2 councilman Richard Williams. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

PIEDMONT – Three special presentations were made at Tuesday’s Piedmont City Council meeting, two of which were police related.

The first was a letter of appreciation from the Piedmont Police Department to Jo Lane Kirk, read by Piedmont Police Chief Nathan Johnson.

“Mrs. Jo Lane Kirk has always been one of the Piedmont Police Department’s biggest supporters,” Johnson said. “She has always encouraged our officers with her gifts, cards, prayers and kind words. Mrs. Jo is a constant reminder to our officers of why we do this job, and for that, we thank you. Mrs. Jo Lane Kirk is hereby recognized for her selfless acts of kindness and love for the Piedmont Police Department. On behalf of the police officers and dispatchers at the Piedmont Police Department, we offer our sincere appreciation.”

Kirk called the police officers her friends.

“Down at the radio station (Immanuel Broadcasting Network on Hwy. 21), I never had to be afraid,” she said. “There was one time there was a situation going on. When I finished prayer time, I looked in and one of the police officers was standing out at my desk. I didn’t know what had happened. I didn’t know what was going on. He said ‘We’re just going to make sure you were OK.’  Ever since then, they’ve come by and stopped and I’ve never had to be afraid of anything because they were always there. Thank you all so much.”

Several Piedmont police officers and Kirk’s family members were in attendance for the special presentation.

Johnson made one other special presentation Tuesday evening to investigator James Michael DeVoe.

“On Aug. 13, 2021, Investigator James Michael DeVoe was conducting a case follow up during his daily operations. DeVoe attempted to make contact with the resident and was unable to get anyone to the door. DeVoe took the extra step to locate a family member to be able to check the welfare of the resident,” Johnson said.

“An elderly female was located inside the residence that had been neglected and needed immediate medical attention. Because of DeVoe’s extra effort, he was able to provide help to this elderly victim that ultimately saved her life. Two people were later arrested for elder abuse. Investigator James Michael DeVoe is hereby recognized for his service to the Piedmont Police Department, the City of Piedmont and its citizens.

“I’m truly proud of his efforts, which are but a single illustration of the dedication, character and commitment to service this officer displays on a daily basis. Thank you for what you do.”

The final presentation of the evening was made by Mayor Bill Baker and council members to outgoing city clerk Michelle Franklin. Franklin announced her retirement from the city back in July after more than 30 years of service. Her retirement is effective Oct. 1, but her final work day is Sept. 17.

Baker and the council presented Franklin with a plaque commemorating her service at the end of Tuesday’s meeting.

“Working with this woman every day has been a challenge. I’m sure her working with me has been a challenge too,” Baker joked. “It’s been a joy. She’s very knowledgeable in what she does. She’s helped me out. I have my expertise in some areas and she certainly has her expertise in many areas. I think it’s been a good balance with Michelle and the council too. I know she is going to be missed.

“We wish Michelle the best of luck. We appreciate her so much. I leaned on her and I hope she’s leaned on me. We have both tried to do what’s best for the city.”

The council echoed Baker’s remarks in their closing comments.

Franklin thanked the mayor and council for the gestures.

“I appreciate your kind words,” she said. “I have enjoyed my 30 years. Like I said when I announced, there have been ups and downs, but mostly good. I just thank God I had this opportunity to have this job for so long in a city that I love. I appreciate all the city employees, and I know Bubba (Carl Hinton) will do well. I’m here if you need me.”

Also in his closing comments, Baker wished District 6 councilman David Ivey a happy birthday and a happy retirement from CVG in Piedmont following 45 years of employment.

The majority of Tuesday’s meeting was a discussion held by the council about COVID-19 employee protocols within the city’s departments. After a lengthy discussion, the council adopted a new employee policy (see below). The council also approved making masks mandatory in all city buildings as well as requiring all city employees to wear masks while in close proximity to other people. The mask mandate is effective immediately.

Bills for payment in the amount of $503,002.09 were approved, as were minutes from the previous meeting.

The council will hold a budget meeting on Thursday at 5 p.m. Their next regular session is scheduled for Sept. 21.

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