Athens City Council discussed Monday current vacant city positions that need to be filled.
The vacancies include two maintenance techs, a solid waste inspector and an electrician. Mayor Steve Patterson told Council that the city is being conservative with what positions they decide to fill because of COVID-19.
“These are critical vacancies, and we’ve held off for a while, but we’re at that point in time where we do need to start filling some of the vacancies,” Patterson said.
Athens Police Department Chief Tom Pyle said there are approximately 19 full-time positions that are currently vacant, which is about twice the number of vacancies the city typically has. Pyle also said these positions are taking much longer to fill during the pandemic.
Council also discussed expanding their process for evaluating applications for 72-hour parking throughout the city.
Councilwoman Arian Smedley, D-1st Ward, said the city needs to have a more formal and systematic approach for expanding the 72-hour parking program instead of adding streets to the program as requests come in.
Smedley also said Council needs to have a conversation to see whether the city is ready to expand the 24-hour parking limit to 48 hours. If the city were to expand all 24-hour parking limits to 72 hours, a problem vehicle could be unaddressed for up to five days, she said.
“48 hours is still a very limited time … It does offer some relief for those who are still living in town and really not going a lot of places, especially now with the pandemic,” Smedley said.