Superintendent Robby Parker receives city coin from Madison City Council
MADISON — Just as the Madison City school board members each received city coins from Madison City Council during the Jan. 14 meeting, District 1 Councilwoman Maura Wroblewski chose MCS Superintendent Robby Parker to be the latest recipient of a special Madison city coin.
Mayor Paul Finley and council members Tommy Overcash, Greg Shaw and Teddy Powell have each presented coins since this initiative began in November 2018. Previous recipients include longtime Madison residents BeBe Oetjen, Jack Clift and Don Spencer.
Wroblewski, whose two children graduated from Bob Jones High School, showed a Bob Jones senior class shirt from 2011 that featured then-principal Robby Parker and several memorable quotes from his morning announcements, regarded fondly as “Robby Parker-isms.”
After the humorous trip down memory lane, Wroblewski, who has previously been a substitute teacher at Bob Jones High School, commended Parker for his contributions to Madison City Schools over the years.
“When Council President Smith came up with this idea of awarding the city coin to someone in our city who’s made a difference in the lives of our residents, I could think of no one who’s made a greater impact in literally thousands of lives than Mr. Parker has impacted through teaching and coaching, then he was an assistant principal, then he was a principal, then an assistant superintendent, and now he’s our superintendent,” Wroblewski said. She added that her favorite part of the day while substituting at Bob Jones was listening to Parker’s morning announcements because “he would always give a word of encouragement.”
Though he misses being around students every day as a teacher, coach and principal, Parker said he is “so thankful” to be the superintendent and is proud of his students, past and present.
“I love all our kids, and I’m very thankful that I am the superintendent,” Parker said. “… I will finish 31 years this year, and Lord willing, I can do a few more.”
Later in the meeting, council approved three more appropriations for this year: $7,500 for the Liberty Learning Foundation, $5,000 for Huntsville Botanical Garden and $5,000 for the Enrichment Center.
Dr. John Kvach, vice president of the Liberty Learning Foundation, mentioned a new addition to their program: digital citizenship. The foundation is well-known for their “Super Citizen” program, which works with elementary students across several school districts to help them identify and learn how to become super citizens in the U.S.A. The program kicked off for Madison City Schools fifth-graders in January.
Huntsville Botanical Garden Chief Operating Officer Kathy Gilder said there is “a lot going on” with HBG—the no. 3 attraction in the state—and they have been able to expand some of their outreach activities. She also noted that about 20 percent of HBG’s volunteers come from Madison, and about 25 percent other members and visitors are also from Madison. Gilder said the appropriation is used to support HBG’s education and outreach activities.
On behalf of the Enrichment Center, Executive Director Sharon Willis, former principal of Discovery Middle School, said the Enrichment Center has grown this year to have five full-time counselors and one part-time counselor serving every school in the Madison City district, something she said is a “tremendous blessing.” Both high schools have a full-time therapist, the middle schools share a therapist, and elementary schools get one or two days per week.
Willis said the Enrichment Center is serving more than 300 students in Madison City Schools. This number, however, does not include crisis students they see.
“The counselors are there not just because of a job … they love the kids, and they want to be in the schools,” Willis said. “That’s my heart’s desire—to see the mental health therapists in the schools making a difference in all of our kids.”
Tom Scovill addressed the council on impact fees during public comments and suggested that the council consider asking developers to pay an impact fee before asking residents to pay more taxes to support the school system as the city continues to grow. “I’m sure that our developers are as civic-minded as anybody, so if asked, I cannot imagine they would object to the opportunity to help solve your problem,” he added.
Mike Sheehy also returned to the podium to “raise a red flag.” Sheehy said the recently adopted growth policy is “insufficient to effectively manage growth,” and multiple schools are over the “true and manageable threshold.”
In the council reports, Council President Steve Smith presented four resolutions to the council before each received approval. The first amended the Capital Improvement Plan, removing the Huntsville-Brownsferry payment. The second resolution approved $6,500 for a Nixle subscription. Several organization in Madison City and Madison County use Nixle to communicate public safety announcements to residents. To receive those notifications and manage others, visit www.madisonal.gov/notifyme.
The other two resolutions include the approval of $35,000 for street lights on Madison Boulevard for “security purposes,” and nearly $5,000 for New World ELicensing for business license actions online.
The council also approved two appointments to the Madison Historic Preservation Commission. Powell nominated District 6 Councilman Gerald Clark to fill one of these spots, previously occupied by Jeanne Steadman, and Clark then re-nominated Elbert Balch to maintain his Place 1 position on the commission.
Following two public hearings relating to the Revenue Department, council approved the following: a restaurant retail liquor license for Champy’s Fried Chicken, soon to be located in the old Bison’s Cafe building on Madison Boulevard, and an on or off premise beer and wine license for Goodland Pour House to be located on County Line Road. For both of these businesses, the Planning Department has signed off, though the Fire and Building departments are still making sure everything is up to code before signing off as well.
The council also approved all items under the consent agenda and finance committee report. In addition to regular and periodic bills, these include the following:
- authorization for a partial payment of $9,380 to 5R Design for architectural services on the new Public Works facility
- a payment of about $506 to Huntsville Utilities for venue electric usage
- A payment of nearly $280,000 to Miller & Miller for their work in the Downtown Streetscape Phase III
- request for reimbursement of nearly $128,000 to Nest Holdings, LLC for infrastructure improvement to Madison Boulevard at the south terminus of Lanier Road
- a payment of $450 to OMI Inc. for NPDES inspection services related to the Palmer Park Rejuvenation project
- a payment of nearly $61,000 to Populous Group for construction administration related to the multi-use venue
Council also accepted two appropriations—$60,000 and nearly $37,000—from Madison County Commissioner Steve Haraway for the purchase of four Physio Control LifePak 15 cardiac monitors.
In addition, the council approved all items on the agenda for the Engineering, Police, Public Works and Recreation departments. These respectively include:
- the acceptance of Burgreen Farms, Phase 3, into the City of Madison Maintenance Program
- the acceptance of Burgreen Village, Phase 4, into the City of Madison Maintenance Program
- a professional contractor services agreement with Donald Monk, not to exceed $15,000
- the awarding of a bid to File Construction Company, LLC for the Public Works facility for about $4.7 million
- A professional service agreement with Stripes Officiating for the 2019 volleyball season, which the Parks and Recreation Department will now be overseeing due to the lack of a board
Madison City Council typically meets on the second and fourth Mondays of every month at 6 p.m. in the council chambers on the main level of Madison Municipal Complex, located at 100 Hughes Rd. Stay up to date on city and council matters at www.madisonal.gov.