City votes out Shannon as building inspector

From left to right: West Point City Clerk Delores Doss, Mayor Robbie Robinson and City Attorney Orlando Richmond at Tuesday's meeting of the West Point Board of Selectmen (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)

The West Point Board of Selectmen voted 3-2 against a six-month contract extension for Roy Shannon, the city's building inspector, at its meeting on Tuesday night.

The item to consider Shannon's contract was on the regular agenda, but a vote came after closed executive session at the end of the evening.

Ward 1 Selectman Leta Turner, Ward 3 Selectman Ken Poole and Ward 5 Selectman Jasper Pittman voted against renewing Shannon's contract.

Ward 4 Selectman Keith McBrayer made a motion to extend Shannon's contract for another six months, which was seconded by Ward 2 Selectman William Binder.

Prior to the vote, Poole asked if Shannon would be willing to negotiate any parts of his contract.

Shannon refused to negotiate, replying "If you're going to cut my pay, are you willing to cut yours?"

Shannon has been in the position for the last three years and a half years, with a yearly salary of $55,000.

Following the vote, Shannon told the Starkville Daily News that of all the people who do business with the city, he has been the only one asked to perform at a lower rate of pay.

"This outcome was not surprising to me as another City employee has been telling everyone for the past couple of months that one of the new (selectmen) had already promised him my job," Shannon said. "I suppose that this is one of the reasons that so many good people showed up in support of me."

Pittman said his decision to vote against renewing Shannon's contract came down to fiscal responsibility.

"Right now, I believe the kind of pay is not fiscally smart," Pittman said. "We're just trying to trim the fat."

Poole and Turner declined to comment when asked why they voted against renewing Shannon's contract.

Binder also declined to comment on his decision to vote in favor of renewing Shannon's contract.

West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson told the Starkville Daily News he was pleased with Shannon's service over the years up until the board opted against renewing his contract.

"I think he was doing a good job," Robinson said. "He was very fair, knowledgeable and treated everybody the same and knows what he is doing."

Shannon voiced his disapproval of not addressing the issue of his contract during regular session, with the mayor and board opting to discuss every other item on the agenda before entering into closed executive session.

"After keeping the meeting in executive session long enough to insure that most of the people had left, (Robinson) then called the meeting back into regular session to address the issue of my contract, when hardly any one was left present to see what was actually happening," Shannon said.

Robinson said the decision against renewing Shannon's contract was effectively immediately after the contract expires on Sept. 16. Also, Robinson said city code enforcer Jeremy Klutts will serve as interim building inspector.

"There will be some discussion before the next board meeting on the issue," Robinson said.

Shannon said while the future is not certain for who his replacement will be, he fears the quality of the department he is leaving will rapidly deteriorate once he is gone.

"If the city is able to find someone with similar qualifications and experience for less money, I will be the first to congratulate them," Shannon said. "But I am quite certain that this will not be case, and this will most likely cause the condition of the Building Inspection Department to quickly return to the system of class and favors that it was when I came on board."