Council names Llano man as chief of police

In the next few weeks, local citizens will have the opportunity to meet and welcome Brady’s newest police chief, Tommy Payne, who was appointed to fill the empty seat in Wednesday’s city council meeting. Final interviews were conducted in an all-day session Tuesday, and the council made the unanimous decision Wednesday to offer the position to Payne, of Llano, a 26-year veteran of law enforcement. According to Brady City Manager Merle Taylor, Payne will begin his duties in approximately two weeks. Payne has received his master police certificate as well as additional instructional certifications. He has 17 years experience as a supervisor and has been employed with the Llano Police Department for almost three years. Prior to that service, he was employed with law enforcement agencies in Dublin and Stephenville where he spent 22 years before retiring to enter self employment. Attempting to further his education, Payne anticipates graduating from Midwestern State University in August with a degree in criminal justice. Perhaps the most discussed and arbitrated item on Wednesday’s agenda concerned the Brady Lake marina lease between Orville and Sally Wright and the City of Brady. Taylor noted that several complaints from local and out-of-town guests to the lake have come across his desk as well as executives with the Brady/McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce with concerns about the locking of the restrooms at the lake. Taylor also added that the Wrights’ lease will expire at the end of April and another party has expressed an interest in assuming management of the facilities. In citizens’ comments, a number of community members took turns addressing the city council concerning the possible termination of the Wrights’ lease. As a McCulloch County resident for three years now, John Chase was the first to address the council about the disagreement between the two parties. “I recommend that the council act prudently on the issue and study it very hard,” he said. “I have my own personal opinion but I won’t express it at this time.” Chase went on to request that the council consider their actions before making a decision because the Wrights’ livliehood depended on it. Responding to his concerns, the city council spoke highly of Chase’s professionalism in approaching members of the council and his previous telephone calls which were noted as courteous and sincere. Mike Trollinger with the McCulloch County Industrial Foundation was next to address the council and stated that he would express his personal opinion in support of the Wrights and their accomplishments at Brady Lake. He mentioned MCIF’s investigation into a complaint filed by the Bass Club about an incident involving Orville Wright’s request for the group of fishermen to relocate their scales to a valid, designated area. Accoring to Trollinger, MCIF’s investigation found that it was the Bass Club that was in rule violation rather than Wright. “I have lived here for eight years and have seen tremendous improvements at Brady Lake over the past two or three years,” said Trollinger. “I will speak in favor of Orville and Sally and the renewing of their contract.” Two other individuals stood and addressed the council and supported the continuation of the Wright’s lease with the City of Brady. In Taylor’s explanation for possibly considering not to renew the Wrights’ lease, he suggested that there may be legal issues concerned with locking bathroom facilities at a public place. “I feel like there are too many conflicts being brought to my attention,” he said, “and we also have another party interested in it (leasing the facility).” Reference was also made about a possible conflict between the manager of the lake store and the Wrights. In addition, members of the council were made aware that the Wrights had requested a vacation absence from the facilities during the weekend of the boat races. “I always try to back the city manager,” said mayor Clarence Friar, “but I don’t know a lot about this.” Friar stated that due to his lack of information, he wouldn’t ask other members of the council to vote hastily and instead proposed a 30-day lease extension. He further went on to suggest that the Wrights meet with Chamber executive vice president DeLaine Poe as well as the City of Brady parks manager Abel Muniz to see if a resolution can be approached and presented to the council at the next regularly scheduled meeting May 7. “I don’t see that it should take any longer than 30 days (to resolve the issue),” Friar said. Councilmen Matt Mills and Billy Patterson both agreed that they wanted the Wrights to participate in the upcoming boat races. “They should be there for the races,” said Patterson. In a statement to the Brady Standard-Herald following Wednesday’s meeting, Mrs. Wright stated that they have never requested a vacation during the boat races’ not prior to last year’s event nor the upcoming boat races scheduled for late May and early June. According to Mrs. Wright, there has never been a feud between the lake store and the marina. To her knowledge, there were only three “unfavorable” letters submitted by the Bass Club, and the majority of the remaining letters were positive in nature and some even commended the city manager for his efforts to improve Brady Lake. “This is a family park now, said Mrs. Wright. “It’s not like it used to be’it’s a nice place for people to come and have a good time with their loved ones. Yes, we run a tight ship, but any ‘good’ business does the same. “The locks on the bathrooms do not pose a safety issue. No one can get locked in or out of those facilities. “Brady lake is a home-away-from-home for a lot of people. We’re not perfect by a long shot, but we do the best that we possible can.” Mrs. Wright went on to add that their conflict between city officials is an unfortunate incident and she truly hopes that a resolution can be reached. “We’re sorry that they saw a mistake (complaint) that we knew nothing about,” she said. In other business, the council: ‘ Approved the second reading of an ordinance adopting the zoning ordinance for the City of Brady. ‘ Approved the third reading of an ordinance amending the City of Brady fiscal year 2002-2003 budget. ‘ Approved the first reading of an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 874 entitled Peddlers Chapter 22, Brady City Code. The change suggested to the peddlers chapter is the rate of pay for door-to-door and parking lot peddling. According to city secretary Christi McAnally, the previous rate for a peddler’s permit was $35 per year. The rate proposed is $35 per day or $50 for a two-day period. The maximum permit allowed is for two consecutive days; and peddlers wishing to offer merchandise after the permitable period will be required to purchase another permit. The city council explained that the suggested change will give local tax paying businessmen a fair chance to sell similar merchandise that would otherwise be purchased from traveling vendors. The city council saw a rare opportunity to “get something for nothing” as they authorized the mayor to sign a contract (once approved by the city attorney) for a drilling contract for water well monitoring. The drilling rig once located at Heartland Rig International has been moved and will be utilized in drilling a 3,000-foot well “free of charge” for the City of Brady near Curtis Field Airport. “That’s a considerable amount of money, and we certainly appreciate it,” said Friar. “We could always use another well.”

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