NEWLAND — The Newland Board of Aldermen convened for its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 2, in which the board discussed yearly employee evaluations, as well as the rising of a few points of concern for the town.

The meeting began with a discussion among the aldermen about a seemingly contentious issue that arose amongst town employees and town management related to yearly evaluations. Alderman Dave Calvert began the discussion by stating that he has worked in management for the past 30 years and brought up the issue of a special meeting that was requested by a board member. Alderman Christie Hughes stated that she asked for the meeting to talk with town employees about their work and to see if they needed anything from the town. However, the board members later decided not to hold the meeting.

Calvert stated that he had heard a rumor that the meeting was supposed to be held to collect information to be able to dismiss the town administrator. Alderman Jamey Johnson stated that he was not looking to fire anyone. Calvert added that if issues are brought up that they should be dealt with instead of festering on.

The board also discussed yearly employee evaluations for raises, as Aldermen Kenny Caraway stated that employees should be evaluated on what they have accomplished versus what their official job descriptions says, since the day-to-day operations of running the town tend to vary.

Calvert stated that it was the town administrator’s job to do evaluations and for the board to do a format. Calvert added that all of them must work together, not just two or three board members.

The particular way to conduct the format was also discussed, and Mayor Valerie Jaynes said that a formal chain of command needed to be set up, and she would be happy to go to each employee to see what they need. Jaynes added that she would be more involved if needed, adding that Newland is a municipality and needs to be ran like one.

Chief Byron Clawson gave the police report and went over notable calls. Clawson stated that two officers attended First and Fourth Amendment training, and Clawson had attended civil unrest training with Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye. Clawson also stated that he had completed the accreditation process for the Newland Police Department for the Safe Communities initiative.

Town Manager Keith Hoilman gave the administrator’s report and stated that the Bojangles project was at a standstill. It will likely not be until April before the project nears completion. Hoilman also noted that the new O’Reilly Auto Parts is “still a go,” and that final project plans should close next month. Hoilman also stated that there are other projects being looked at.

Alderman Lauren Turbyfill made a motion to reappoint Jamey Johnson as Mayor Pro-Tem. Calvert seconded the motion, and all agreed by a show of hands. Caraway asked Johnson if he was comfortable performing all functions as mayor in the event that the mayor was absent, and Johnson confirmed that there would be no issue.

Johnson stated that at the next workshop there needs to be a policy in place to protect the town when it adjusts water bills, and a workshop was planned for Feb. 25. The board also discussed doing an ethics training, as well as training for the clerk. Furthermore, the board discussed getting a TV and the possibility to begin doing Zoom meetings.

Information on the Town of Newland’s Feb. 2 regularly scheduled meeting is based on draft meeting minutes as recorded by town staff.

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