By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – To say the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (CEIDC) and the Crockett City Council have been at loggerheads the last few months would be an understatement.

Former CEIDC Executive Chairman Flint Brent abruptly resigned last year. To fill the vacancy, CEIDC Board Member James Gentry was appointed to the role of executive director.

When the CEIDC Board of Directors provided Brent and Executive Assistant Suzanne Steed with severance packages, the council decided it would be best to clean house and start anew. Gentry was spared but four of the five sitting board members were removed and replaced with four new members.

During a February meeting of the city council, the council unanimously voted to remove four members from the CEIDC board and replace them with four new directors. Gone were Board Chairman Chris von Doenhoff, Board Secretary Treasurer Elmer Murray, board member Karen Duncan and board member Ellen McCreight.

With the removal of the four CEIDC board members, the city council appointed Ansel Bradshaw, Debbie McCall, Steve Meadows, and Wade Thomas to fill the vacancies.

It appears, at least for now, the Crockett City Council and the CEIDC have achieved – at the very least – a spirit of cooperation.

That spirit of cooperation was on display during a regularly scheduled meeting of the city council held on Monday, March 6.

Gentry addressed the board and indicated the council had a copy of the CEIDC Board of Director’s latest meeting minutes and financial reports.

“Some of the things I would like to highlight are that we did elect new officers. Ansel Bradshaw is our new president, Gene Glover is our vice-president and Steve Meadows is our secretary /treasurer. WE had a very good meeting on Feb. 20 and I provided the board members with what I consider a CEIDC primer,” he said.

“Basically, the binder helps them to understand the legislative guidelines of economic development as well as the city’s by-laws. Our board is a working board and I plan to utilize them in many ways in terms of their access and knowledge,” Gentry said.

The CEIDC executive director said he had reached out to area legislators in recent months to help sell the city of Crockett as well as Houston County.

“One of the things we are trying to do is be more available to the city council and to the public. We have discussed the possibility of having our meetings here at City Hall to be available and to be in front of people,” he said.

After a few remarks from Bradshaw, also present at the meeting, Gentry said while the new auto dealership slated to build in Crockett was still on track and the owners were in the process of talking with contractors.

“It is slower than what they had anticipated, but they are committed to it.” Gentry said.

In other matters brought before the council:

  • The minutes of the council meeting held on Feb. 6 were approved.
  • The council approved a resolution authorizing the submission of a grant to the office of the governor, Criminal Investigation Division Vehicles.
  • A resolution was approved by the council which: appointed election officials for the May 6 election; set the rate of pay for the officials; determined the maximum number of election clerks for the polling places; and designated the early voting ballot board.
  • Crockett Police Chief David “Buddy” Cross reported the police department received 332 calls for service during the month of July which resulted in 60 arrests. There were 60 traffic citations issued and 137 police reports filed.
  • Crockett Fire Chief Jason Frizzell reported the fire department responded to 45 calls during the month of February with 32 in the city and 13 in the county.
  • The designation of deputy early voting clerks was approved.
  • A list of surplus city items was designated for to be listed on an on-line auctioneering service.
  • Lindsey Rice, Chris Jones, Kimberly Marrs and Larry Robbins were appointed to the Parks and Recreation Board. David Tyer, Spencer Burke, Scott McCall and Shirley Murray were reappointed to the board.
  • Approval was given for a temporary easement agreement between Houston County and Patricia Edmiston.
  • The council approved the closure of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard from West Curtis Street to Oak Street on March 11 for a “Spring Break Fun Day.”

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.