Starting May 1, Riggs will fill the
unexpired term of Juanita Josserand, the former city clerk. Riggs
has served as deputy city clerk since she came to City Hall in 1988.
"She is going to do a great job,"
Josserand told the council. Josserand is stepping down after 16
years as city clerk and a total of 32 years as a city employee.
[photo by Joan Crabb]
Melanie Riggs, newly appointed Lincoln city
clerk, takes the oath of office from City Attorney Bill Bates. Mayor
Beth Davis is seated in the background.
Riggs came to City Hall from what is
now J.M. Abbott and Associates, where she worked in the computer and
bookkeeping departments. As deputy clerk she oversaw all accounting
areas and served as clerk when Josserand was not available.
"I think she's going to do a very good
job," agreed Alderman Verl Prather. "I just want to tell Nita [Josserand]
what a good job she's done over the years."
Prather also thanked the two retiring
aldermen, Bill Melton and George Mitchell, for their work and
leadership. Melton, the council's senior member, is retiring after
22 years. Mitchell has served for eight years.
Mayor Beth Davis said the city would
miss the two retiring aldermen and told them they might be called
upon in the future.
"Be prepared. I'm going to put you on a
commission of some sort," she said.
She also thanked their families, many
of whom were in attendance, "for all the years you have allowed them
to come to these meetings."
A reception for the retirees was held
after the meeting.
In other business, the council also
accepted the working budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins
May 1, with a deficit of $121,469 in the general fund. The council
has made deep cuts in the budget to counter the losses in city
revenue over the last two years and this year took the drastic step
of cutting six city employees, two each from the police, fire and
However, Verl Prather, finance
chairman, said he believed the actual budget would almost balance
because of a change in insurance for city employees. The change must
be ratified by three unions representing city employees. These
unions have 60 days to decide to accept the new dual-option health
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The new plan will save the city about
$100,000, according to insurance chairman Glenn Shelton, and will
give employees the option of an HMO or a PPO.
City Attorney Bill Bates said two of
the unions, the fire and the police unions, have said they would
accept the change and waive the 60-day notice. He said he was still
waiting to hear from the three-member telecommunications union but
expected them to agree to the change.
"There has been cooperation between the
city and the unions. I think we will be able to go ahead and change
plans and save the city a considerable amount of money," he said.
Retiring City Clerk Juanita Josserand
also held out hope the budget for the coming year would stay in
"These are only budget requests, and we
never spend all our budget requests, especially if we all watch it,"
Prather announced that Mayor Beth Davis
has pared her coming year's budget to $1,500 to help with the budget
Decreasing revenue because of
historically low interest rates on city investments and decreased
sales tax revenue has left the city with unexpected shortfalls.
Police Chief Rich Montcalm told the
council that two members of the department are currently attending a
training session at the National FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., to
learn how to clean up hazardous meth labs. The training is paid for
by the federal government and there is no cost to the city.
said he is being considered for the FBI's management training
course, also held in Quantico. The 10-week course will begin Jan. 1,
and Montcalm is still waiting for final approval from the FBI. Pat
Madigan, chair of the police committee, said he thought this would
be a good program for the police chief to attend and said he felt
sure the assistant chief would be able to handle the chief's duties
in his absence. This training is also paid for by the federal