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The Daily Tar Heel

Chapel Hill Town Council discusses sanitation worker firing, shelter guidelines

The issue that dominated discussion at Monday’s Chapel Hill Town Council meeting was not on the agenda.

Several community members lined the back of the council chamber protesting the firing of two town sanitation department workers, Kerry Bigelow and Clyde Clark.

About 20 protestors held signs displaying messages such as “Fire Roger Stancil,” and “The struggle has just begun.”

Protestors were concerned that Stancil, the town manager, purposefully framed a hearing process that led to the firing of Bigelow and Clark.

After Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt paused the meeting to ask those who wanted to disrupt civil discourse to leave the meeting, one person left.

Kleinschmidt also ejected two protestors after they made outbursts of mockery and laughter during the meeting.

Scott Williams, a member of the N.C. Public Service Workers Union, said Stancil should be held accountable for an unjust firing of the workers.

The Town Council passed a motion 5 to 3 to discuss the sanitation workers’ case and the related hearing processes.

“Nothing that I heard makes me feel like our town manager orchestrated some system by which he wanted to strip away the rights of any of our employees,” council member Donna Bell said.

Council members later discussed homeless shelter guidelines, but some members felt the pending special use permit application to move the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service’s men’s shelter complicated the process.

In a 6-2 vote, council members deferred setting guidelines until the pending application is decided.

Council member Matt Czajkowski advocated for delaying the guideline process to continue analyzing and incorporating ordinances and policing issues.

Chris Moran, executive director of the Inter-Faith Council, said he supported recommendations that have been brought forward regarding shelter guidelines.

He said there were distinct differences between homeless shelters and transitional bed shelters that should be considered in the guidelines.

“We believe in having safe facilities. We believe in working with neighbors and all those interested,” Moran said.

Chapel Hill resident Tim CoyneSmith said deferring the guidelines makes a mockery of the decision-making process. He suggested guidelines be established before the special use permit application is decided.

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