Clocking out: Following council decision, clock donation rescinded

Published 2:18 pm Friday, November 23, 2018

HOGANSVILLE — After the Hogansville City Council voted unanimously Monday night to accept the donation of a clock to Calvin Hipp Park, the donor withdrew his offer on Wednesday due to the lengthy, heated discussion the council had on the topic. The clock was to be donated by John Hardy Jones, but the donation was withdrawn two days later. 

The discussion began at Monday’s meeting, with City Manager David Milliron presenting the clock as a gift to the city in the form of a proposal.

“I spoke to [Jones’] associate today, and their goal is to beautify and make the city look better. Ultimately his goal is to make money off his properties, so it’s a free gift to the city,” said Milliron.

Council Member Theresa Strickland asked Milliron how long he had known about the project and how it was decided where the clock would specifically be placed. Milliron said Jones had recommended the spot for the clock, but it couldn’t be placed there because it would be too close to the highway.

“It’s not going to fly anyway because we’re going to have to have a specific amount [of space] back off of the state highway no matter what,” Milliron said of the proposed location. “We can’t infringe on that, which you all already know. You have things that are set back, and I’m pretty sure John Hardy Jones is pretty accommodating as to where this clock could be placed in that park.”

Strickland also told Milliron that she wanted the council to be informed about proposed donations as soon as possible.

“I feel like the council should have been informed about the potential clock being donated to the city,” Strickland said.

While discussing the clock, Council Member George Bailey suggested the clock be dedicated to late Hogansville resident Frances Robinson. Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz suggested making dedications a separate matter from the actual donation.

“It’s a beautiful clock,” Milliron said. “It’s a great addition to downtown Hogansville. We’re just passing time on a great donation.”

Jones said former Mayor Jimmy Jackson had always wanted a ‘big city’ clock, and Jones thought since the PNC bank building was recently acquired for City Hall to move into, the time was right for the donation.

“Well, unfortunately the previous mayor always asked about a clock, (he) wanted one of those big town clocks,” Jones said, referencing former Mayor Jimmy Jackson.

“And there had never been an appropriate time.”

The city council voted unanimously to amend the proposal to put the clock anywhere in the park, and then voted again to accept the clock. However, two days after the vote, Stankiewicz said in an emailed statement that Jones rescinded his donation.

“[Jones] said the last thing he wanted to do was to create controversy. Given the council’s decision Monday night against any dedication of the clock together with the debate over the clock’s placement, [he] has decided to withdraw his offer,” Stankiewicz said.

“This is a most unfortunate development as, it appears to me at least, we have lost an opportunity to make a fine addition to downtown Hogansville.”

Jones said he had already ordered the clock, but will now place it in one of his shopping centers instead.

“I don’t want to put a burden on the city,” Jones said. “I’ve donated a lot of money to the city, but I’ve always done what I felt was beneficial for the city in advancing the city. But anyway, in any event that’s the situation.”

In other actions, the Hogansville City Council:

4Unanimously approved bids for FEMA projects for roads, bridges, Boyd and Ditch, Poplar Street and Green Avenue.

4Failed to adopt new building permit fees. Council members Fed Higgins and Bailey voted for, Reginald Jackson voted against, and Marichal Price and Strickland abstained.

4Unanimously approved administrative procedures and draft application for board, authority and commission appointments.