'Watchdog' has her own April Fool's Day report
Appropriately, the April council meeting in Kirkersville was held on April Fool's Day but, sadly, it was no joke! The new council and mayor still have to contend with the antics of some of the former GOB's (Good Ol' Boys) and a couple that still remain although the solicitor (Debbie Kenney-McBride) announced that she would like to break her contract with the village and leave in July rather than January 2011 unless council objected. Council did not object and, in fact, council member Debi Seymour said she wouldn't object to her leaving now!
Solicitor Kenney-McBride also announced that former police Chief Robert Chamberlain II left the village and took with him five HARD DRIVES…not CD's as originally thought. These hard drives were used to electronically store police department videos and other village records. Chamberlain also took his personnel file when he left.
Kenney-McBride states that Chamberlain can't find his personnel file, yet he will "go through the storage unit." In addition, Chamberlain told her that he did not receive a letter from the police department regarding this issue and implied it was news to him. Mayor Terry Ashcraft quickly discredited that statement when he presented the receipt from the post office where Chamberlain had signed for the CERTIFIED letter.
Kenney-McBride went on to tell council that Chamberlain claims that he personally purchased these hard drives but couldn't find the receipts and, since he didn't have the receipts, he would make a deal with the village and only charge them $100 for each hard drive! But, without really trying, I have found previous council minutes that reflect that Chamberlain told council he needed a hard drive for storage. Those minutes say, "Steve motioned and seconded by Brian to allow $300 to purchase a hard drive."
It gets better…Kirkersville Police lost a case because the evidence they needed was on one of these hard drives in Chamberlain's possession! Council member Seymour said that Chamberlain needs to be prosecuted. (Public officials in Chauncey said that Chamberlain took his personnel file and other things when he left their village before he ever came to Kirkersville.) Solicitor Kenney-McBride stated that if he was guilty, it would be considered theft in office. New Police Chief Mark Bossa is now handling this situation.
During the clerk's report, council members address paying the bills. Council member Seymour voted to pay the bills, but added that she had an issue with APPROVING to pay bills that have already been paid. (On previous occasions, I questioned former clerk Johnny (Bob) Adkins about paying the bills BEFORE they are approved by council. He explained this is how they do it so that there are no late charges and it is easier and we've done it this way FOR SEVERAL YEARS and it was no big deal.)
New Fiscal Officer Metheny suggested using another word. The motion was changed to "accept the bills" and all voted in favor except GOB Brian Denton who expressed his discord by a resounding "NO!" Seymour asked if he wanted to discuss this or if he had another word he would prefer. He said, "No…we've voted." Seymour asked the solicitor if the word "accept" was appropriate and she said they had to use the word "approve." Seymour told the solicitor that she should have stopped them from using a different word and told her that she was upset that the solicitor didn't step in. "You're supposed to stop us if you think we're doing something wrong!" Seymour said. "That's what you get paid for!" Kenney-McBride stated she didn't know, AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, that council was approving to pay bills that were already paid!
Seymour told everyone that people need to realize that the people who walked away from the village left quite a mess for Mayor Ashcraft. She said they need to thank him and tell him how much you appreciate him.
And, after several months of a "chief only" police force, Kirkersville Police Chief Mark Bossa welcomed three new reserve officers - Steve Mowery; Jason Woods; and Dana Russell. I wish them good luck in changing the theme of the Kirkersville Police Department back to a department that is out there "to protect and serve."
Bonnie Mansfield Buckeye Lake