City Upholds ABC suspension/fine; approves all but one recommended policy update
At Monday’s Toccoa City Commission meeting, Commissioners voted to authorize a $750 fine and a 10-day alcohol beverage license suspension for the business operating as The Collins Road Convenience Store, located at 14 Collins Road, and the intersection of Collins Road and Pond Street in Toccoa.
The fine and suspension come as the result of selling alcohol to an underage individual during a state undercover operation in October. The alcohol was sold without verifying age through a check of the customer’s driver’s license or identification card.
Both the clerk and the store were cited for the sale, according to Toccoa Police Chief Jimmy Mize, who told commissioners that the city Alcohol Control Board held a hearing on the matter on October 31, and that the store owners were served with a notice to appear for the hearing on October 18. However, no representative of the store or the store owner appeared at the October 31 hearing, and the ABC Board recommended the fine and the suspension as outlined in city policy.
The business owners appealed the fine and suspension, and were placed on Monday’s agenda, where they acknowledged that the sale to a minor did occur without proper verification of age, but explained that the employee who sold the alcohol had since been fired for being inebriated on the job, and that they have hired new employees and installed signs regarding the store’s policy to card all alcohol purchases.
Commissioners acknowledged the corrective actions, but upheld the $750 fine and 10-day suspension for the violation that already occurred. The license suspension went into effect on Tuesday, Nov. 14, and will be monitored by the Toccoa Police Department on a daily basis.
Also at Monday’s city Commission meeting, commissioners approved a bid from Triscapes Inc. of Cumming for construction of the Tugalo Street Greenspace. The $896,850.35 bid was the lowest of the three received bids, but is above the budgeted grant and matching funds allocated for the project by $235,524. Commissioners verified with city staff that approval of the bid did not constitute a contract, but only allowed the city to move forward with a meeting, to be held this coming Monday, with representatives from Triscapes Inc to review the project parameter and see if the scope of the project could be adjusted to fit within the budgeted funds. Prior to the vote to accept the bid, and following an inquiry by Commissioner Terry Carter, commissioners were told by staff that, if a revised project plan could not be agreed upon with TriScapes that kept the project within the budgeted funding, the city would not be under any obligation to proceed with the project and the bid acceptance could be voided. WNEG News will continue to monitor this story and will provide an update after results of Monday’s meeting with TriScapes are made available.
Commissioners, at Monday’s meeting, also approved several updates to the city’s policy manual, but rejected a policy update that would have reduced the recommended disciplinary action for certain classes of city employee violation of policy, procedures, or supervisor instruction. The proposed revision to the policy would have changed the disciplinary recommendation from a suspension of three days, to a suspension of up to three days, giving department heads and the human resources department more leeway to adjust the disciplinary action to the violation. Carter pointed out that department heads and city officials already had the ability to adjust the disciplinary action, since the policy only states specific suspensions as recommendations, not definitive periods. Carter also stated that approving the update to this specific policy may present a negative perception, since the policy violations covered by this specific disciplinary action include racially-related violations.
After discussion among commissioners and staff, the proposed change to this policy was not included in the motion to approve the requested policy updates. The remainder of the proposed policy updates were approved by commissioners. A screenshot of each policy, before and after the proposed updates, will be provided attached to this story on wnegradio.com.
Those policy updates include:
- Two policy updates clarifying that pre-employment physical exams are only required for police cadets, but pre employment drug tests are required for all employment candidates.
- An update adding Veterans Day to the list of observed holidays.
- An update allowing sick leave to be used in units of less than one hour.
- An update making exit interviews optional in some situations.
- An update clarifying reporting requirements for the drug-free workplace program.
- An update removing some restrictions on casual day attire for employees.
- An update authorizing an increase of per diem travel amounts for department heads. Commissioners declined to increase per diem travel amounts for commissioners.
- An update to the technology use policy, adding flash drives and removing pagers, floppy discs, and cassettes.
- An update specifying that the city manager or human resources director can require an employee to attend additional anti-harassment training as needed.
- The addition of an anti-retaliation/whistleblower protection policy to the city policy manual, recommended as standard by a Local Government Risk Management representative.
Screenshots of the policy updates are available here:https://wnegradio.com/toc-meeting-tonight-personnel-policy-manual-changes-downtown-greenspace-construction/
Larger/clearer copies of the policies will need to be requested from Toccoa City administration, as WNEG has no other formats.