The Covington City Council opted not to reappoint Municipal Court Judge David Strickland following a 45-minute closed session Monday night.
The council voted 5 to 1 to approve Keith Dalton's motion to appoint attorney Ben Hendricks as temporary municipal court judge until the position can be filled through an RFP process. Janet Goodman opposed the motion.
"These appointments are not lifelong appointments," Dalton said Tuesday. "At any time, we can make a change without giving a reason. With personnel issues, the nice thing is we can do that behind close doors, without getting into he said, she said."
Asked if there was any misconduct or impropriety that taxpayers should know about, Dalton said he did not believe so.
City Attorney Ed Crudup, Assistant City Attorney Frank Turner Jr. and City Physician Henry Patton were all reappointed.
In other news, Mayor Ronnie Johnston announced that he has a tentative agreement with City Manager Steve Horton to remain in his position for another year after his announced retirement date in July.
Some details still need to be worked out, Johnston said, and he will bring the matter before the council at its Feb. 20 meeting. Johnston stated immediately after being elected that he planned to try and convince Horton to stay longer.
Horton said Tuesday that the proposed agreement would allow him to retire but work on a contract basis "for a period of time that we define to help with the transition" to a new city manager. Horton said he still expects to work full-time, but for a reduced salary.
Horton recently said he might retire earlier than previously announced due to health issues. He said that is still a concern.
"I want to go ahead and invoke retirement because I've got to draw a line in the dirt and say this is not a permanent thing. This is to help the city," he said. "We need a relevant time frame so that everybody knows there really is an end of the road."
Keep checking www.newtoncitizen.com for updates.