Executive Order 13985 Hot Topic at Opelika City Council Meeting

Oscar Penn stands at the podium and addresses the council during Tuesday night's meeting urging for the leaders of the city to work together

By Michelle Key

Numerous people came out to this week’s Opelika City Council meeting on Tuesday night to address the council pertaining to Executive Order 13985 which is officially titled Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.

Joshua Lewis spoke on the need for governmental funds to be spent in Opelika in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the executive order.

“We ask that those funds not be allocated or used for infrastructure. We would rather see those funds go towards services that are listed along with that executive order,” Lewis said.

“The crown that you [the council] wear is heavy. The responsibility is heavy. But, we are dependent on you to do what is right, what is good and what is necessary,” said life-long Opelika resident  Shalverri Stinson

“From all of us, we’re a family. Opelika Strong. And I expect to see moving forward with the executive order, that you all are supporting us,  supporting the needs of every single community.”

Opelika resident, Oscar Penn took the podium during the citizen’s communication period to address the allegations made against him during the June 1 meeting. Penn maintained the allegations are unsubstantiated but also said “I am not going into all that … This community and the work that we are doing is much too important for us leaders and so-called leaders to work against one another.

“I am only here for one thing, to offer forgiveness, I forgive you. I forgive you very much.

“I think it is more important for us to get on with the work of building together Opelika.”

Penn also urged the council to look into advancement policies and procedures for the fire department.

Another Ward 2 resident, Lorenza Reese, made a request for speed barriers to be installed on Avenue B due to excessive speed of vehicles traveling the road.


Mayor Gary Fuller honored four city employees during the meeting. The employees graduated from the Alabama City and County Management Association Program. The employees honored were: Taylor McAllister, Ruth Blessing, Cindy Boyd and Russell Jones.

Fuller also recognized the Opelika Cheer and Tumbling Program national qualifiers and Coaches.

Gymnastics State Beam Champion:

Baylee Beck

Trampoline and Tumbling State Champions:

Dallas Adams

Olivia Battle

Raelynn Ragsdale

Myairah Revels

Brynlee Yarbrough

Trampoline and Tumbling National Qualifiers:

Olivia Battle

Ka’Liyah Hugley

The national qualifiers will represent Opelika next month in Salt Lake City.

Other business:

– The council approved a request by Opelika Main Street for the 1st Avenue Block Party and Arts Event on June 19. 

– The council approved a request for O-Day at Covington Park on July 3. 

– The council approved a request for the 2021 Collinwood Christmas Luminaries on Dec. 17.

– The council approved a request for a special events retail alcohol license from The Sound Wall LLC dba The Inaugural Party.

– The council approved a bid for the Northpark Drive Improvements.

– The council approved the designation of city personal property surplus and authorized the disposal of said property.

– The council approved the purchase of a 2023 Altec 60′ Material Handler Bucket Truck W/ Chassis for Opelika Power Services in the amount of $271,887.

– The council approved the purchase of a new aerial ladder truck and a new custom pumper truck for the fire department in the amount of $1,853,978.18.

– The council voted to accept a proposal from Tyler Technologies, Inc. for Cybersecurtiy Maturity Program for the IT department.

– The council voted for the acceptance of subdivisions and roads which have been constructed and inspected by the engineering department.

– The council voted to approve the amending of the organizational chart for multiple departments.

– The council voted to approve and adopt the City of Opelika Grant Policy.

– The council voted to approve the request for approval of a special use permit with T-Mobile at 1015 West Point Parkway.

– The council voted to approve a quitclaim deed to Armetta Johnson for property located at 509 Martin Luther King Blvd.

– The council voted to approve the option to purchase an easement with Vertical Bridge Acquisitions, LLC in the amount of $418,000.

– The council held the first reading for an ordinance to amend the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual.

The next council meeting will be held on July 6 at 7 p.m. Work sessions are held before the meetings and are also open to the public.


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