Retail store fixture manufacturer Garcy Corporation, owned by parent company Leggett & Platt, announced in January its plans to close its Piedmont plant by June. Layoffs of the approximately 115 employees at Garcy were to begin in April.
But current plant manager Henry Tunstall sent the city a letter this week announcing he will keep the company open with himself as president, changing the name from Garcy Corporation to Garcy Manufacturing LLC. The change is to take effect April 16.
Mayor Pro Tem Bill Baker read the letter Tuesday night at the Piedmont City Council meeting. Neither Tunstall nor Garcy Corporation could be reached Tuesday night for comment.
Tunstall’s letter asks the council to waive business license fees for two years, which they voted unanimously to do.
“It is with much gratitude and respect that I make this request,” Tunstall wrote the council. “I feel strongly about our employees and families here in Piedmont and I appreciate the support (the city council) has given Garcy Corporation over the years.”
Baker said he was not sure how many jobs Garcy Manufacturing would support.
“Probably not as many as out there right now,” he said. “But any jobs saved is a plus for the city.”
Councilman Ed Hanson said Garcy would continue to manufacture retail store fixtures, but could not say for certain how many workers the facility would employee.
In other business, Councilman Brent Morrison recommended that the council change the way it appoints board members. Last month, made an appointment without discussion in a public meeting. Board members said they used a series of one-on-one meetings and phone calls to discuss the appointment
“I don't particularly like the way we handle some of these board appointments, and I think we can do a better job of that,” Morrison told the council. “When you've got a council member like we had two weeks ago that didn’t even know the board appointment was going to be made or who was going to make it, that’s not a good situation.”
Morrison recommended the council put at least one meeting between the time the council discusses a board appointment and then votes on that appointment.
The waiting period would give anyone interested in filling the board appointment a chance to make their interest known, Morrison said.
“To me it’s more open, and I like the openness of it,” Morrison said. “It’s not that we’re doing anything wrong or trying to hide anything. It just gives the public a better opportunity to give input if there is somebody out there who wants to serve.”
Baker agreed with Morrison. Hanson, however, said he felt the council was right in the way they appointed the board member without discussing it in an open meeting.
“What we were trying to do was put somebody’s name on there without putting two or three names and then somebody would get embarrassed,” Hanson said.
Hanson said last month that the council discussed the appointment in private to avoid any embarrassment an appointee might feel if they were not approved by the council.
The council did announce a proposed appointee for another position Tuesday.
During the work session prior to Tuesday’s regular meeting, Baker recommended Carlos Farmer to a second term on the Piedmont Health Care Board. Baker asked the council to consider Farmer’s appointment, and opened the appointment up to anyone who would like to serve on the board.
In other business:
-- New lights will be installed on the tennis courts at Piedmont Middle School. Councilwoman Diane Studdard asked the council to consider spending $500 to install the new light on existing light poles at the tennis courts. The council agreed and Piedmont Power and Light Supervisor Phillip Johnson said he would order the parts and begin work as soon as they arrived.
-- Clay Dent won his third AHSAA 1A-4A State Wrestling Championship this year, finishing his season with a 76-0 record. The city council honored Dent Tuesday night, presenting him with a plaque in honor of his achievements in and out of sports. “I just want you to know how proud we are of you,” Baker told Dent during the meeting. “And how much you mean to this community and to this high school.”
-- The council paid bill in total of $129,955; tabled discussion of turning over animal control to the county until the next city council meeting; and listed vehicle, electronics, HVAC, and office equipment from the Piedmont Police Department as surplus to be sold on a government auction website.