Newly elected Ward 2 Alderman Herb Adams wants the authority to appoint the city sexton returned to the mayor.
Alan Bruns, who served as sexton from 1988 to 2014, was not reappointed to the post in May 2014 following the election of Mayor Jeff Palmore.
In an attempt to return Bruns to the position of sexton, aldermen passed an ordinance placing the authority to appoint a sexton in the office of city administrator.
City Administrator Steve Roth did not appoint a sexton. Instead, he became the de facto sexton and used city crews to open graves.
Adams, who served as mayor a total of 14 years, said that even though there were times when he did not agree with the actions of the previous mayor, he retained respect for the office.
He said his request is not intended to reflect on the former mayor, the former board of aldermen, current mayor or sexton, but is intended to preserve the authority of the position of mayor.
“Separation of power is vital to good government at all levels,” he said.
Speaking at the April 17 board meeting, Adams said when he was out of office he had watched the board of aldermen strip away some of the mayor’s power because it did not like the individual who was the mayor.
“There’s a reason we have a mayor and board of aldermen,” he said. “It’s called checks and balances.”
Adams said he wants the sexton appointment authority and other powers returned to the mayor. He asked that the city attorney draft ordinances, which he would sponsor, returning the authority to the mayor.
After some aldermen resisted the multiple changes, Mayor Steve Myers asked Adams to separate the issues and request only the ordinance regarding the sexton appointment, which he did. But, Adams said he will not give up on restoring other authority to the position.
The city attorney was asked to draft an ordinance re-establishing the mayor’s authority to appoint the sexton, to be presented at the next board meeting.
Alderman Ed Gass asked that a clause be added to include grave openings as a duty of the sexton, not city workers, but City Attorney Bob Jones declined to accept Gass’ request.
“We don’t need to settle that tonight,” Jones said.
The new ordinance is scheduled to come before aldermen May 1.