Council: Wieland performance review; Gaddis honored; Adoption rates increase

by Charles Gerian

The Blackwell City Council conducted a performance review for City Manager Jerry Wieland during its Thursday meeting and voted to retain him as city manager and trust manager. The Council also named Councilman Chad Shepherd as the city’s vice mayor.

The meeting began at 6 p.m. with the recognition of Cindy Gaddis as Employee of the Month. Wieland praised Gaddis for her work with the city. It includes her work with the utility department and the multitude of projects she guides, including the community garden, the city-wide clean-up, and the upcoming used tire disposal event.

Following Gaddis’ recognition, Shepherd led the Council in prayer in honor of May 4, which is the National Day of Prayer.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Blackwell Public Schools Band Director J. Wayne Hudson thanked city leaders for facilitating the needs of the arts and crafts show, which was on April 29 at Memorial Park.

The show also included drag racing entertainment. The purpose of the show was to raise money to send band students to the Alamo Bowl. The show was presented by Blackwell Main Event.

Leaders from the police, fire, water and street departments, as well as the library, gave reports to the Council.

The Blackwell Fire Department took 163 calls in April and was on standby for the drag racing event.

Fire Chief Cory Hanebrink advised the Council that the city is in the process of repairing two broken storm sirens: the one at the golf course and the one near the police department.

The Blackwell Public Library had more than 1,000 patrons pass through last month and received 130 new books for circulation, Library Director Talyn Spence said. The library also hosted an animal adoption drive with the Blackwell Animal Shelter for the second year in a row. The event raised about $100 for the shelter.

Streets and Parks Department Manager Chuck Anderson updated the Council about the work he and his crew have been doing on South 3rd Street.

He also talked about taking down the fence and backstop at the former Huston School site. Anderson said the fence would be repurposed at the soccer addition to the Southwest Cupid Softball Complex.

The Streets & Parks Department also took the cover off the Blackwell Memorial Pool and is in the process of preparing for the summer season. Police Chief Cory Ingram said the police department received 113 calls in April, and he noted a curious spike in traffic accidents.

Blackwell’s Animal Control impounded 71 dogs and 26 cats. Wieland then spoke, praising the work of all departments and city employees.

“Everyone is so dedicated to their community, and everyone has been killing it lately. There is so much progress happening here in Blackwell,” Wieland said.

Next, the Council appointed a new vice mayor, as is required every year. Councilman Richard Braden nominated Shepherd for the position, and the vote was unanimously approved. Following that, the Council heard from Ingram about raising the cost of adoption at the animal shelter.

“The animal shelter has been working very closely and productively with the Blackwell Animal Hospital,” Ingram said. “The hospital has agreed to handle the spaying, neutering, and vaccination of all animals brought into the shelter at a reduced cost, but that is still a cost.”

The solution, Ingram said, was to raise the adoption costs to complement the agreement with the hospital. As such, it will cost $50 to adopt a cat and $80 to adopt a dog. The animals will be fully vaccinated, spayed, and neutered.

The Council then convened in an executive session to conduct the mandatory performance review of Wieland, who has completed his second year as city manager. After returning to open session, the Council voted to renew the city’s employment agreement with Wieland. The meeting ended shortly after 7 p.m.