Last updated: July 31. 2014 10:16AM - 699 Views
By - jbreger@civitasmedia.com

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Citizens have been wondering why all members of the Durant Cemetery Board resigned earlier this year.

Former Board Chair Tom Criswell answered, saying it was time.

“We just felt we’d done all we could do after all those years of service over there,” said Criswell.

He said the members had served for more than two decades.

Criswell said one member of the board had been having health issues and the other two felt it was time to step down and let a younger generation advise the council.

Criswell said the council had no actual duties or authority but served as an advisory for some time.

He said many years ago, the cemetery board ran into great conflict with cemetery workers and funding for the cemetery.

At that time, the board decided to ask the city to take control of the cemetery and take charge of funding and employment.

“After that, everything started happening for the good,” said Criswell. He listed many improvements to the cemetery and the staff.

Criswell suggested a younger group of citizens be appointed to the board to bring new ideas and perspectives to the council.

Though the decision to resign was made by each member in their January meeting, the resignations were just made official at last month’s city council meeting.

Mayor Jerry Tomlinson said the reason for the delay was that a written resignation was required for city council to be able to accept the resignations in a public meeting.

Tomlinson and City Manager Jim Dunegan said they are now in the process of reviewing what is needed from a cemetery board and appointing new members.

They said City Attorney Pat Phelps is currently looking at and updating the charter for the board and this will likely be discussed in the August city council meeting.

“It will most likely be an advisory authority much like the library board, airport authority and others,” said Tomlinson.

Dunegan said that if anyone wants to apply to be on the board, the application will soon be on the city’s Website, www.durant.org.

- Jessica Breger can be reached at (580) 634-2162 or on Twitter @jbreger_news

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