Opp meeting gets heated

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Opp City Council meeting turned political Monday night, when city councilman and mayoral candidate Jimmy Rogers brought up the issue of mileage.

“I would love to have it where the mayor and council turns in mileage on a 30-day basis,” Rogers said.

Councilman Oren Stewart said he wasn’t getting mileage.

“Me either,” said Councilman Mickey Crew.

“I guess you are throwing that at me, Jimmy,” said Mayor H.D. Edgar, who is also running for the office again in the August municipal election.

“I wasn’t trying to make an issue,” Rogers said. “I just think we should turn in mileage so the city doesn’t have to pay a big check.”

“I don’t get paid because there are a lot of months the city can’t afford to pay me,” Edgar said.

“Durwood, wasn’t there a $7,000 check cut for you recently?” Rogers said.

Edgar said he hasn’t been paid in nearly two years for mileage.

“This is all political for you, Jimmy,” Edgar said. “We all know you are running for office. At least get your facts straight.”

“I’m more interested in this city than you ever have been,” Rogers said.

“You are way off base,” Crew said.

“You are interrupting the council,” Edgar said. “Let’s move on.”

City Clerk Connie Smith agreed the mayor had not been paid in a long time for his mileage.

According to city hall financial records, the last check cut for mileage to Edgar was on July 15, 2010, for $7,145.50 for mileage, in the 18 months, from Jan. 2, 2009, to June 10, 2010.

Records indicate Edgar, who took office in October 2004, has submitted $23,543.94 worth of expenses in the nearly eight years or $341 per month for his time in office.

Edgar did not turn in any expenses from October 2004 until July 2005.

Deb Carnley at City Hall confirmed that Edgar has not turned in any expense statements since June 2010.

Edgar is also paid a salary of $18,000 a year, or $1,500 per month before taxes.

The mayor said he uses his own personal vehicle to take care of city business, which includes traveling to the South Alabama Regional Airport and any other city business around town and throughout the state, if needed.

“It would be fine with me if I never got paid the rest of my mileage,” he said. “But I do use my own pickup. I don’t mind using my own vehicle or my own gas to do things for our great city of Opp.”

Stewart said the city provided the former mayor with a vehicle, maintenance, insurance and gas.