Jerry Adam Baker received a conditional hire by the commission, but will still have to undergo testing through the Department of Criminal Justice Training before entering the academy, an 18-week program in Richmond, which is standard for all new hires, Hazard Police Chief Ronnie Bryant said.
Bryant noted that even with the hire their roster is still short of what it was a couple years ago, but says they hope to add more officers in the near future.
“We are still short compared to where we were a couple years ago. We could still use additional officers, but we are able to do everything that needs to be done with the quality officers we have. We hope to add more in the near future,” he said.
The commission also approved an ordinance adopting a drug free workplace which will take effect on August 1. The ordinance will expand their current policy and will only apply to certain city employees with an emphasis on those in safety related departments such as the police and fire departments, gas department operators, those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and maybe some heavy equipment operators, City Manager Paul Feltner said at the meeting. The policy also expands the testing panel from six items to 11 and will save the city five percent on its insurance cost, he added.
“I think this is a good program,” City Attorney Paul Collins said while noting that the city’s current policy already requires mandatory drug testing for certain employees which wouldn’t change with the exception of that testing becoming random under the new policy.
During his utilities report, Feltner made the commission aware that their rates would be changing due to the changing rates of Kentucky Power. He said the rates will affect the city government and the bills they receive from Kentucky Power, due to an increase in the fuel adjustment rate that the company passes onto the city, and noted that the increase wasn’t something the city was expecting in their current budget.
“We were not forecasting that for the year,” he told the commission. “Chris Gooch is analyzing the information to see what it has done to us and how it could further affect us in the next few months.”
In their final order of business, the commission approved a resolution to accept a parcel of land with a small building on it that would be donated by Hazard Sterling, LLC with the requirement that the building be demolished by the City.
“Hazard Insurance Agency and Hazard Sterling, LLC has approached the city about donating a parcel of land with the small building on it. They would donate it if the city would demolish the building. The land made available from that could be incorporated into the parking structure that is being developed,” Collins explained.
Feltner said the road is no longer going under the new bridge due to height issues and that removing the building would make for easier access into the new parking lot as well as providing additional spaces.
The building currently sits on the back side of the old Hazard Insurance Building and was an add on to the old Sterling Building.
Mayor Bill Gorman abstained from the vote due to a family member’s co-ownership of Hazard Insurance.