The Tahlequah City Council terminated City Administrator Ed Carr’s City employment during its Sept. 3 meeting.
Councilors entered into an executive session to discuss Carr's employment agreement for over an hour and a half. Carr had been put on paid administrative leave by Mayor Sue Catron until the City Council reviewed his employment contract, which included an annual salary of $117,000 plus benefits. The vote was unanimous.
Catron had earlier cited unspecified concerns about Carr's contract, along with issues related to Finance Director Danya Curtis, who remains on administrative leave.
Authorization for City Attorney Grant Lloyd and City Clerk DeAnna Hammons to allow the District Attorney’s Office and Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office to review the official sealed executive session minutes from the June 7 City Council meeting was approved. However, Ward 1 Councilor Bree Long made a motion that those minutes be placed back into the sealed envelope, without retaining copies.
The Tahlequah Daily Press requested those minutes but was told they cannot be released at this time. According to Lloyd, the executive session minutes from the meeting "cannot be provided without a court order and/or specific council approval."
In other action, councilors denied an appeal of a decision by animal control to ban a dog that bit a young girl at Walmart. The dog owner, Lisa Huber, was at the store when her service dog bit the child on the arm. Huber said the American with Disabilities Act says service animals are not required to be professionally trained, and that the dog was still a puppy.
The child’s mother argued that it was irresponsible of Huber and that the dog should be banned from city limits. Planning and Development Director Clinton Johnson said if Huber appealed, she would have to have the dog out of city limits by the end of the business day on Sept. 4.
“If we start to second-guessing ourselves on this, that’s a precedent that we don’t want to say; it’s a slippery slope argument,” he said. “It’s not a pet, it’s a profession of the dog.”
Councilor Long made the motion, pointing out it could have been any of the one of the councilors' child or grandchild who was bitten. Ward 4 Councilor Trae Ratliff seconded.
Utilization of Anthis-Brennan Sports Complex by tournament providers and the schedule of the grand opening of the softball fields was approved. Ratliff worked with Matt Cloud, director of Athletics at Tahlequah High School, in planning a soft opening event for Sept. 26-28.
Chief of Police Nate King's request of a grade adjustment to the chief’s executive assistant was granted.
A donation of a 2015 Chevy one-ton truck from the Northeastern Oklahoma Public Facilities Authority was approved. Street Commissioner Wayne Ryals was absent, but had told Catron the vehicle could be an asset to the department.
Councilors approved the transfer of Officer Cody Warren from law enforcement to Cops in Schools and Office Kyle Reed from Cops in School to law enforcement. Approval of the resignation of Officer Brian Powers was granted. He had been with the police department for close to four years.
The board OK'd the resignation of Parks and Recreation part-time laborer Billy Sunday.
The next Tahlequah City Council meeting is Sept. 16 at 7 p.m., in the Council Chambers at City Hall