By ARTHUR L. MACK
MOBILE — Mobile City Council members on Tuesday passed several items, including a resolution supporting the adoption of a Child Care Safety Act that was initiated by the death of a 5-year-old who was attending a Mobile child care facility.
The adoption of the resolution, which was supported by councilmembers Bess Rich and Joel Daves, along with council president Gina Gregory, passed unanimously. Rich thanked supporters of the act, brought about by the death of Kamden Johnson. It will include background checks on employees that will have contact with children.
Valarie Patterson, who was employed at the Community Ministries Nursery and Preschool Academy, was charged with abuse of a corpse and manslaughter in Kameron’s death. Patterson, who worked at the facility as a van driver, reportedly has a long criminal record.
Rich said the resolution would cover day care facilities that are church-sponsored, including religious, non-denominational and private. Currently, Alabama is one of several states that do not have vetting processes in place. A bill to have that done passed the House, but died in the Senate.
“Public schools already do vetting for anyone that has contact with children and this will do the same,” said Rich. “It’s basically asking members of the state House to make sure that they move that bill forward. It’s my understanding that our local delegation (both the House and the Senate) was supportive, but there were members of the Senate that did not support the bill. Whatever their reasons were, we hope that they rethink it and make sure that bill comes out of the house.”
City councilmembers also authorized a contract in the amount of $19,776 with Hernandez Demolition & Remediation, LLC for evidence storage room floor abatement of the Mobile Police Department.
“Upgrades are being made in that area,” said Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste. “You outgrow storage space, and we’re also doing upgrades to ventilation. It will improve our ability to store evidence.”
City council members also:
- Authorized a contract with Baskerville-Donovan, Inc. for Zeigler Boulevard-Forestdale Drive intersection for railroad crossing improvements in the amount of $68,788.
- Authorized a contract amendment with Hutchinson, More & Rauch, LLC for Toulminville sidewalks, which adds $9,460.
- Authorized a contract with BM Construction, Inc. for the former Woodcock Elementary School (which is now being used by several senior citizens groups) breakroom upgrades in the amount of $42,166.