Meetings watch: New recreation center director introduced at council meeting

Argen Duncan

During the Portales City Council meeting Tuesday night at City Hall, councilors:

• met new Portales Recreation Center Director Jodi Kibbe.

Kibbe has a master’s degree in health and physical education and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, both from Eastern New Mexico University.

Having started work Monday, she said she plans to move toward getting a teen center, keeping fitness classes, instituting special interest classes such as scrapbooking or photography and increasing community involvement in the center. The after-school program is also returning to regular hours with school resuming for the new semester.

Kibbe said she has always been involved with recreation and sports, and loves working with people.

• heard from Police Chief Jeff Gill and Deputy Chief Lonnie Berry that the Operation Santa Cop program served 1,140 children this year, exceeding the goal of 1,000 children.

Many local businesses, service organizations, schools and individuals provided toys or money, Gill said. Roosevelt County Sheriff’s deputies delivered toys in the county, while Portales Police officers delivered toys in city limits.

Gill said leftover toys would be saved for next year.

• ratified the Finance Department’s payment of about $1,035,000 in bills for November.

• heard Mayor Sharon King appoint new Councilor Keith Thomas to represent the city on the Local Growth Management Committee.

• heard City Manager Tom Howell say the city’s agreement with Plateau Telecommunications Inc. for Plateau to operate radio communications equipment on the water tower at South Avenue I and West 17th would be automatically renewed for five years in March.

Plateau’s rent will increase from $500 per month to $550 per month under the renewed agreement, Howell said.

• heard the city personnel policy had been updated.

Howell said major changes included aligning the sexual harassment policy with state rules and omitting language that allowed employees a paid vacation day if they didn’t take a sick day for a specified amount of time. He said management would revisit the sick leave policy to find a better way to encourage employees to not take sick days.

Also, the policy now gives all managers, who are paid on salaries, an automatic four hours of paid time off per month as compensation for any overtime they may work. Before, the amount of hours differed among various personnel.

• heard Councilor Oscar Robinson say the Cultural Affairs Committee was finalizing plans for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. He said the committee plans a program with a speaker, reading by children and singing, and they hope to get state Department of Transportation approval for a march from ENMU to the Memorial Building.