Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Poindexter Named City Commissioner, Hudgens Sworn In as Mayor

Jim Hudgens, with wife Joanne, takes the oath of office as Sallisaw’s new mayor. Judge John Cripps swore Hudgens into office Monday at the city’s regular monthly meeting. 

Bill Carney, left, receives a watch from Sallisaw Police Chief Terry Franklin, right. Carney is retiring and was presented the retirement gift at the regular meeting of the Sallisaw commissioners on Monday. He said, “Thanks to all the people I’ve worked with over the past years.”

Ro Poindexter was appointed the Ward 2 city commissioner at the Sallisaw City Commission meeting Monday evening.

Poindexter and Cliff Eppler had both announced an interest in the position at a special meeting last week. In addition two others also announced they were interested in the post – Mike Hancock and Tracy Baker. 

But discussion quickly came to an end when Ward 4 Commissioner Daryl Legg nominated Poindexter and Ward 3 Commissioner Julian Mendiola seconded the nomination. Ward 1 Commissioner Ronnie Lowe voted in favor of Poindexter’s nomination.

Mayor Jim Hudgens, past Ward 2 commissioner who was sworn in as mayor at the start of the meeting, voted against Poindexter’s nomination to replace him as the Ward 2 commissioner on the board.

Poindexter is to be sworn into office before the city’s budget hearings planned for May 17 and 18.

The commissioners tabled a discussion on the Upper Payment Limit (UPL) program, proposed to help Sequoyah Memorial Hospital financially and to keep the hospital open.

City staff were approached on March 29 by the Sequoyah Memorial Hospital Board regarding the UPL program. This program is designed to improve the level of healthcare provided by nursing homes to their patients. It is funded through Medicaid and requires the city to become the owner of the license of participating nursing home facilities, while the current owners of the nursing homes become the managing partners. Any nursing home facilities within 150 mile radius, within Oklahoma, are eligible to partner with the City of Sallisaw to participate in the UPL program. 

The benefit of the program, beyond improving the level of healthcare provided by the nursing home facilities, is that as the city seeks reimbursement of program dollars from Medicaid, there is a negotiated split of funds between the nursing home managing partners and Sequoyah Memorial Hospital, after all expenses are paid. The total amount of funds expected to be transferred to the hospital is in excess of $1 million annually.

The city commissioners last week requested answers to questions they have about the program but the consulting firms did not have the answers ready. The commissioners will consider the proposal again at their budget meetings on May 17 and 18.

In other business the city commissioners:

-approved a change order for $2,550 for the underpass pump station rehabilitation project;

-approved purchase of a diesel generator for city hall at a cost not to exceed $28,000;

-accepted a $20 bid for surplus athletic lockers and athletic clothing;

-approved the extension of the sewer main along Drake Road, for an amount not to exceed $30,000;

-approved an agreement between the city and the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department for a $149,576.50 grant for the Sallisaw Splash Pad project;

-convened in an executive session to discuss negotiations concerning employees and representatives of employee groups and to discuss a pending claim;

-and heard a report from City Manager Clayton Lucas, who told the commissioners that Brushy Lake, the city’s water source, is once more full, that the city’s preliminary budget is complete, and that a Sports Complex fence damaged by a tornado is insured.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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