2008-04-12 / News

Kirkersville accused of discrimination

By Scott Rawdon

KIRKERSVILLE - Following an executive session - a governmental meeting that legally excludes the public and media - members of the Kirkersville Village Council announced during their April 2 meeting that a man believes he was discriminated against when the village didn't offer him an auxiliary (unpaid) position on the Kirkersville Police Department.

Mayor Terry Ashcraft explained that Vaughn George, an African American man, applied for a position. Ashcraft said George was interviewed, but at that time he was told the village was dealing with some insurance issues relating to its police department and may not be offering auxiliary positions to anyone. When George wasn't offered the position, he reported to the American Civil Liberties Union that he lost the position to a Caucasian man.

"We didn't hire anybody," said Ashcraft. He said that the village would send the ACLU a list of police department personnel and who's been added recently. He expects the case to end there.

In other council news:

• Council clerk Johnny Adkins may stay on for another month or two while the village searches for his replacement. Council members believe the village should hire a fiscal officerinstead of a clerk. A fiscal officeris trained to use Uniform Accounting Network, or UAN, software, which is a program that's compatible with the State of Ohio Auditor's computer system. A fiscal officeris more expensive than a clerk. Council members hope to keep the position to approximately $325 per month.

• Council voted to renew its contract with Village Engineer Gary Silcott. He said the charge for engineering services varies widely depending upon who in his officeis working on the village's issue. Some simpler issues may be fairly inexpensive while others may require $100 per hour or more.

Ashcraft questioned if the village needs an engineer since a referendum is delaying a proposed public water contract with the Southwest Licking Community Water & Sewer District. Council members agreed that an engineer is necessary on an "as needed" basis.

• Council member Brian Denton said the Flying J Travel Plaza is requesting a liquor permit to allow on premise consumption. Adkins said Tuesday that Flying J management may plan to build a hotel on the grounds, but he was only speculating. The state may not issue enough liquor permits to the village to accommodate the Flying J.

• Council member Erika Mudd mentioned that Kirkersville Fire Chief Jim Webber plans to resign. Adkins said the village hopes to have a replacement by September. "He's been in that role a long time," he said.

• Council member Gary Raines said a village police cruiser needs $2,676 worth of repairs, including a new rear axle. Denton and council member Jamie Cloud voted to approve the repairs, council member Rosemary Frischen abstained and Mudd, Raines, and council member Bennie Evans voted against approving the repairs.

Police Chief Robert Chamberlain explained that police cruisers require "interceptor" components, which are heavier duty and more expensive than those of most passenger vehicles. Evans said the village should check with Bingman's Auto Service for used, less expensive parts before it commits to a price to repair the cruiser.

• Former council member Bonnie Mansfieldsaid she made a public records request for documents relating to all items in police evidence and wondered why she hadn't received them yet. Chamberlain said he needed to receive clearance from the village attorney before he could release the documents.

"It takes a week?" said Mansfield.

Chamberlain said some of the items in evidence relate to pending cases and he needed clearance.

• Council meetings will return to 7:30 p.m., the first Wednesday of each month at the Village Hall. Meetings were starting at 7:45 p.m.

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