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November 8, 2012

Good Hope mayor takes full time position as sewer superintendent

GOOD HOPE — Good Hope mayor Corey Harbison has accepted a full time position as superintendent over the city’s waste water treatment plant.

The move, which the newly-sworn city council unanimously approved at its Monday organizational meeting, was designed to save the city a small amount of money in plant-related personnel expenses, while simultaneously making the city’s mayor more accessible to current — and prospective — Good Hope residents and business.

“I had brought this up at a previous council meeting, with the thinking that it would be in our best interest to have him here full time,” said council member Jerry Bartlett. “The council agreed. There’s a lot of interest in Good Hope right now from businesses; from restaurants and others. And with Corey working an outside full time job in addition to serving as mayor, it had been hard for him to accommodate inquiries from those folks during regular hours, when they needed to meet with the mayor.

“I just felt like he would pay for himself here at Good Hope if we could have him working full time for us, because when a business wants to go look at a piece of property, or talk to someone about what’s going on in Good Hope, they can’t wait until he gets off work and do it after hours — they want to talk to him now.”

In order to accept the job, Harbison quit his full time work as a patrol deputy for the Cullman County sheriff’s office.

The decision to do that, said Harbison Wednesday, wasn’t easy.

“I appreciate working with sheriff [Mike] Rainey, and everything that he has done for me and for Cullman County,” he said. “In some ways, I’m even losing some things on the personal level — like some of my benefits and retirement — by leaving the sheriff’s office. But I just felt that, as mayor, I can help Good Hope at a time when we’re starting to have more and more things happening that deserve someone’s full time attention.

“We’re a city now; we’ve gone wet; we’ve got a really active schedule in terms of grants we’ve applied for or that we’re receiving. We’re also implementing some changes at the waste water treatment plant with the company that’s helping us manage the system. Being in this position is something that’s just going to allow me the opportunity to go to workshops; to go out and recruit for our community and to evaluate what we can do better to save money and to grow the right way.”

Harbison’s job with the city pays $39,000 a year, and offers single-employee insurance benefits.

“That salary is subject to hours that the council sets for me, but it doesn’t come with overtime pay or anything like that,” Harbison said. “If I work 60 hours in a week, I get paid for 40. The council sets the hours for my job, and when I accepted this appointment I knew I would also be accepting a flat level of pay. That’s fine, because the whole goal of this job is to get out there and work hard and put all my energy into helping our city grow.”

Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at bbullard@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.

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