By Greg Ritchie
CROCKETT – Crockett city council met for a brief but busy meeting Monday, Feb. 6 to set city elections and to recognize city employees who have been with the city – in one case, for 40 years.
Crockett City Administrator told the council the parking lot in downtown Crockett will be reopened in the next day or two, although the work is not quite finished. The surface will need some time to cure, but in order for visitors to the downtown area to be able to utilize the space in the meantime, the lot will be opened this week. The lot is owned by the city and is adjacent to the Moosehead Cafe. Angerstein said the city will close the lot again in a couple of weeks to paint and “stripe” the lot.
Council Member Marquita Beasley asked how construction work on MLK, Jr. Boulevard is progressing, with Angerstein admitting it has been slow due to the recent weather in the city. He said they had to begin work in mid-January, according to the rules of the funding the city received for the project. The project is now moving forward, along with the long-awaited repairs to Fifth Street, balancing work and crews between the two projects.
“We have waited a long time for it, so we want it do be done right,” said Crockett Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher.
The council then proceeded to announce the 2023 Employee Service Awards and give recognition to city employees who have served the city over time. Each person received a service pin and a bonus check, based on how long they have been with the city.
Angerstein explained the awards are usually given out at the yearly banquet, but admitted, “We all know each other and know how long everyone has been with the city. We wanted to present these at this public meeting to allow the people and the council to be able to recognize them as well.”
Those receiving recognition for five years with the city were:
- Rita Walker
- Matthew Simon
- Steve Caudle
- Gerald Colter
- Lonnie Bacon
- William Walters
- Steven Witherspoon
- Nathan Key
- Nestor Cardenas
- Brian Hargrove
The ten-year service awards were given to Crockett Police Department (CPD) Chief Clayton Smith and Crockett Library’s Sarah Colasanti.
CPD Assistant Chief Alfredo Fajardo received the award for 15 years on the job, with Smith saying, “After I started with law enforcement, Fajardo started doing ride-alongs and I knew pretty quick he would be a good cop. After I became Interim Chief, I knew what his position was going to be, because you will not find someone who is smarter with the law, there’s not a case he has seen he doesn’t remember, and he’s a good leader.”
Lonnie Lum, receiving a 20-year service award with CPD, was unable to attend the meeting, but Smith warmly remembered visiting his house as a young man asking about Lum’s time in the police academy, knowing he wanted to follow Lum’s footsteps into law enforcement.
Another longtime veteran with CPD, Georgia Hopkins, received an award for her 35 years with the department. Smith joked he was a mere boy of five years old when Hopkins started at the department.
“Her title may be ‘Administrative Assistant,’ but she really is part chief, part patrol officer, part mother…” Smith broke off, emotional as he and Hopkins linked arms. “She is like a mother hen to our department, from motherly and spiritual advice – we are lucky to have her.”
It was 40-year-veteran Sedrick Scott who appeared last for his award, receiving loud applause and cheers from the crowd for his many years of service. Angerstein pointed out the world of 1983 when Scott began, from Michael Jackson and “Cabbage Patch Dolls,” to the low cost of goods and the much different salaries, back then.
The winners joined the mayor and council members behind the dais for heartfelt handshakes and hugs, before group pictures were taken.
“This is exciting, simply because if there is an award being received, it is because of a job well done,” Fisher said. “We are so appreciative to have people who work that hard and so diligently to make sure their job is done well.”
In other business, the council approved the upcoming elections to be held for council precincts three, four and five in a joint election with Crockett Independent School District. As of press time, The Messenger has learned there will be at least two candidates in Precinct Three, with incumbent Ernest Jackson and challenger Natrenia Hicks already registered as candidates. Residents have until Feb. 16 to sign up for the city elections, to be held in early May.
The city also approved emergency repairs to sewer lines damages during the recent storms along East Bowie Avenue.
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]