Monday, March 07, 2005

UPDATED: Did you attend tonight's City Council meeting?

March 8 update - Here's the Tribune account, focusing exclusively on sewer department affairs at the meeting.

City Council passes ordinance on sewer disputes, by Amany Ali, Tribune City Editor

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Previously ...

If so, please give us a report. Illness precluded attendance tonight.

On Tuesday morning, we'll link to the newspaper coverage of the meeting.

18 comments:

Tim Deatrick said...

Brief Synopsis: The All Heart no smart firefighter hiring ordinance was forced into being tabled by Dan Coffey as he clearly demonstrated its political overtones; on the first vote to pass the second reading Coffey passed and Price, Kochert, Schmidt and Seabrook voted no on the ordinance, The Mayor's puppets Blevins, Crump, Messer and Gahan supported the ordinance. Coffey used the pass procedure to force the tabling of the ordinance, looks like Dan Coffey may be building a campaign for mayor and he made no secret of the fact that the firefighter union had a problem with Garner's and Toran's ordinance, furthermore Coffey stated for the record that he talked with the union and they had issues with the ordinance as written; is Coffey running for Mayor against Garner? time will tell. CM Schmidt raised legitimate questions regarding the funding for the Newly created Economic Development director position as well as other budegetary issues, Coffey raised the possibility of a full financial analysis being connducted(i.e. an independant, full scale audit) Parks Director Bill Koehler gave an update on the Parks Dept. annual report. Regarding the Budd Road Sportsplex he said "This is not a pay to play park" I assume that means there will be no fees assessed for soccer teams, groups etc. CM Price asked Koehler what the projected cost was for the sportsplex and Koehler replied he did not know.

David Huckelberry brought to light that the financial advisors to the city on the "White Elephant" Scribner Place project pledge property taxes as a back-up funding mechanism.

Back to the firefighter hiring process, a major revelation was brought to light by Asst. Chief Stanley Mason as he was attempting to build the case for supporting the All Heart no smart ordinance, he stated that many factors were considered in the interview phase and alluded to the stability and character issues of the candidates. He may have put the city in a possible legal bind when he said,"We ask if they are a member of a church"

That's one for you lawyers out there to ponder.

Overall the mayor did not have a good night despite the fact that he apparently had a good weekend by taking control of the Democrat Party apparatus. Perhaps the Democrats on the council who did not support Garner last night, Kochert, Coffey, Price and Schmidt are looking ahead to '07.

The New Albanian said...

Member of a church? That's interesting.

Thanks for the report, Tim.

Tim Deatrick said...

your'e welcome Roger, I guess they assume a church member is more stable than a non-church member as a potential fireman, I wonder if they would accept a non-christian as a credible candidate.

edward parish said...

Had planned on attending but, duty called at work. What is up with the "We ask if they are a member of a church" comment?

Tim Deatrick said...

I dont know why mason would have said that but I guess they think only church-goers make good fireman, wonder what EEOC would think of mason's qusetion

Tim Deatrick said...

From the EEOC

Under Title VII:

* Employers may not treat employees or applicants less - or more - favorably because of their religious beliefs or practices. For example, an employer may not refuse to hire individuals of a certain religion, may not impose stricter promotion requirements for persons of a certain religion, and may not impose more or different work requirements on an employee because of that employee's religious beliefs or practices.

CONCERN TAXPAYER said...

IN TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO EXPLAIN MY EXPERIENCE AT LAST NIGHT'S CITY COUNCIL MEETING. I WANT TO SHARE THIS SPECIAL QUOTE WITH YOU. MAYBE THIS WILL HELP EXPLAIN MY EXPERIENCE AT THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING....QUOTE--FIND OUT JUST WHAT THE PEOPLE WILL SUBMIT TO AND YOU HAVE FOUND OUT THE EXACT AMOUNT OF INJUSTICE AND WRONG WHICH WILL BE IMPOSED UPON THEM; AND THESE WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THEY ARE RESISTED WITH EITHER WORDS OR BLOWS, OR WITH BOTH. THE LIMITS ARE PRESCRIBED BY THE ENDURANCE OF THOSE WHOM THEY OPPRESS... AS I SAT THERE LAST NIGHT LOOKING AT 9 CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS-KNOWING ONLY A FEW OF THEM TRULY UNDERSTAND WHAT'S GOING ON? AND SO YOU NOW ASK-"WHAT'S GOING ON???? THIS IS A WAKE UP CALL """THE CITY OF NEW ALBANY IS BROKE?""" WE OWE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THAT WE DON'T HAVE...DAN COFFEY TALKED ABOUT A FULL FINANCIAL ANALYSIS.(MEANING A FULL AUDIT.)AND THIS TIME-DAN I TOTALLY AGREE. I ALSO HOPE EACH AND EVERYONE WHO READS THIS WILL CONTACT THERE COUNCIL PERSON AT THERE HOMES. AND ALSO VOICE YOUR OPIOION TO SUPPORT THIS AUDIT. AS I SAT THERE IN TOTAL SHOCK- I HEARD MAYOR GARNER THE SAME AS CALL BILL SCHMIDT "A LIAR"..THEN LATER ON OUR "FAMOUS COUNCIL PRESIDENT JEFF GAHAN"- SAME AS CALLED "YVONNE KERSEY" A LIAR???? GAHAN THEN CAME AND TOLD ALL PRESENT "THE CITY COUNCIL WOULD CONTINUE TO HAVE WORKSHOPS??(SECRET MEETINGS)-NOW IN CASE ANYONE WONDERS ABOUT THE WORKSHOPS.THE PUBLIC CAN GO.BUT THEY CAN NOT SAY ANYTHING-OR ASK NO QUESTIONS? LAST THURSDAYS WORKSHOP CONSISTED OF THE "SCRIBNER PLACE PROJECT".NOW WOULD SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME. IF WERE SO OVER SPENT.(BROKE)AND WE HAVE SANITATIONS TRUCKS NOT ABLE TO GO IN ALLEYS? AND THEY KEEP BREAKING DOWN? AND TOO EXPENSIVE TO FIX? AND WE HAVE FIRE TRUCKS THAT CAN NOT GO DOWN CERTAIN STREETS IN NEW ALBANY (AS THE STREET WILL CAVE IN).AND WE ARE SPENDING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ON SEWERS. AND WE NEED A FIREHOUSE IN THE WEST END OF NEW ALBANY. AND THE POLICE NEED NEW POLICE CARS?AND IT COST MONEY FOR OUR NEW FIREMAN APPLYING FOR A CITY JOB? AND THEN TO TOP IT OFF. WE DO NOT HAVE MONEY FOR SALT WHEN IT SNOWS? AND GOD HELP US IF MY HOUSE ARE YOUR BUSINESS CATCHES ON FIRE. AND THE WATER HYDRANTS IS DRY OR DOESN'T WORK? DAMN WERE ALL IN BIG TROUBLE. SO AS I SAT THERE LAST NIGHT I HEARD COMMENTS ON TIF MONEY-REDEVELOPEMENT-SOCCER FIELD.(WE HAVE A GREAT SOCCER FIELD AT COMMUNITY PARK)-IT'S FREE. THEN I HEAR THAT ORDIANCES THAT WERE APPROVED AND VOTED ON CONCERNING CODE ENFORCEMENT HAS BEEN REMOVED.I SAT THERE IN TOTAL SHOCK?? WERE BROKE TAXPAYERS AND FAMILIES OF NEW ALBANY? THE COUNCIL HAS BEEN VOTING ON RAISES-ADDING NEW POSITIONS -ELIMINATING JOBS? WHAT IS GOING ON>???? LAST THURSDAY A BOMB WAS DROPPED ON THE TAXPAYER---RAISE PROPERTY TAXES FOR SCRIBNER PLACE PROJECT? NOW IF THE CITY USES MY TAX DOLLARS TO BUILD SCRIBNER PLACE- "DOES THAT MEAN I GET TO USE IT FREE?????? "SINCE THE COUNCIL HOLDS THE PURSE WITH ALL OUR TAX DOLLARS IN IT" I SAY SPEND MY TAX DOLLARS WITH AN AUDIT. AND LET ELECTED OFFICIALS BE HELD ACCOUNTIABLE TO THE TAXPAYERS.THE COUNCIL SHOULD MAKE ALL CUTS. AND ALSO WHAT JUST BLOWS ME AWAY-JAMES GARNER VOTED AGAINST SCRIBNER PLACE AS A COUNCILMAN. WHAT CHANGED HIS MIND? IN FACT I WOULD TAKE A HARD LOOK AT HIS VOTING RECORD AS COUNCIL MEMBER? NOW THE BIG BLOW OF THE EVENING WAS WHEN I HEARD MAYOR GARNER SAY-""WE HAVE A CONFORT ZONE?????"HOW DARE HIM ACT SO NON CONCERN ABOUT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WE DON'T HAVE AND OWE. LET ALONE THINK WE WILL SIT STILL FOR SCRIBNER PLACE? IF MY FAMILY BUDGET WAS RAN LIKE THIS CITY.WE WOULD BE HOMELESS...THE CITY HAS SPENT HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS BUYING PROPERTIES FOR SCRIBNER PLACE. AND THERE SITS DOUBLE 7-WHICH IS A TOXIC WASTE. EVEN JACK MESSER SAID IT WOULD ALMOST TAKE A MILLION DOLLARS TO CLEAN UP.I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE CITY COUNCIL PUT """A FREEZE ON EVERYTHING""" UNTIL THERE IS AN AUDIT.. INSTEAD OF MAYOR GARNER IN A CONFORT ZONE-HE NEEDS TO STEP UP AND TELL THE TRUTH. AND ALLOW THE COUNCIL TO DO THERE JOB. THEY NEED TO FREEZE RAISES-NEW POSITIONS AND TURN IN THERE VANS AND SUV'S. CLAIMS SHOULD BE LOOKED AT FOR ALL DEPARTMENTS-CONCERN CELL PHONE BILLS? I UNDERSTAND TONY TORAN HAD A $500.00-$700.00 CELL PHONE BILL LAST MONTH...LET'S CHECK FOR OVER TIME? COMP TIME? LORD KNOWS WE KNOW NEW ALBANY'S BOOKS WERE COOKED A COUPLE YEARS AGO? I ASK ONE LAST THING-MAYOR GARNER AS YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN TOLD "JIMMY YOU WORK FOR ME" YOU NEED TO TELL THE PEOPLE AND TAXPAYERS THE TRUTH.....THE CITY IS BROKE..RESPECT IS EARNED NOT DEMMANDED..........""A VERY CONCERN TAXPAYER""

curmudgeon said...

I too want to pass along my thanks to Mr. Deatrick for being our Hunter Thompson on this. {{ It inspires me to dust off my Wolf trial pad and pencil and go back to work }}

It lead to a couple of silly questions, however.

1. What was Ms. Ali doing? Sleeping?

2. Why, in her piece, was the small potato arbiter lady alternately referred to as Welsch and Welsh?

3. How can the mayor also be the president of the sewer board?

S.A. NELSON said...

I HAVE JUST READ THE COMMENTS AND I MUST SAY THAT I AGREE WITH "CONCERNED TAXPAYER". HE (OR SHE) HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. I CAN'T BELIEVE OUR MAYOR WOULD TAKE APPLICATIONS FOR A POSITION THAT DOES NOT YET EXIST. THE PROPOSED SALARY SOULD BE IN THE COUNCIL'S "COMFORT ZONE???" WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
AND AS FAR AS THE FIREFIGHTERS UNION WANTING TO KNOW IF A POTENTIAL EMPLOYEE IS MARRIED? A CHURCH MEMBER? HAVE THEY NOT HEARD THAT IS HAS BEEN AGAINST THE LAW FOR MANY YEARS TO ASK SUCH QUESTIONS IN AN INTERVIEW? "HELLO ACLU"
I WAS ALSO APPALLED BY THE TREATMENT OF MR. SCHMIDT AND MRS KERSEY. THEY HAD GENUINE CONCERNS AND WERE TREATED VERY UNFAIRLY. AND POOR MR HUCKLEBERRY, HE HAD SOME GOOD POINTS WHICH THE PEOPLE WANTED TO HEAR BUT IT WAS HARD TO FOLLOW HIM WITH ALL OF THE INTERRUPTIONS. I DID NOT SPEAK LAST NIGHT AND MAY NOT IN THE FUTURE. IT IS HARD ENOUGH TO STAND IN FRONT OF A CROWD AND SPEAK WITHOUT BEING TOLD TO HURRY UP OR HAVING YOUR HONESTY AND INTEGRITY CHALLENGED.
THE GENTLEMAN FROM THE SANITATION DEPT. DID A FINE JOB. HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS DID WE SPEND FOR THOSE PIECES OF JUNK KNOWN AS THE SANITATION TRUCKS?
LETS HOPE OUR COUNCIL TOOK THE CONCERNS OF THE SPEAKERS SERIOUSLY. I LOVE NEW ALBANY AND WANT OUR TOWN TO GROW AND PROSPER, I HOPE OUR LEADERS FEEL THE SAME WAY.

knighttrain said...

SOME PEOPLE SAY ON THIS FORUM THAT THEY WANT NEW ALBANY TO ADVANCE. ADVANCING CITY GOVERNMENTS HAVE WORK SESSIONS---EVANSVILLE, BLOOMINGTON AND KOKOMO TO NAME A FEW---SPEAKING OF LIARS, THESE MEETINGS ARE NOT SECRET--IF THE PUBLIC IS ALLOWED IN, THEY ARE NOT SECRET--DUH. THE PURPOSE OF THESE SESSIONS IS SO THAT COUNCIL MEMBERS DO NOT COME INTO REGULAR MEETINGS TOTALLY COLD ON AGENDA MATTERS---IN THE PAST CERTAIN MEMBERS WOULD LEGISLATE BY THE TELEPHONE DURING THE WEEK, BUILDING COALITIONS ON CERTAIN MATTERS, HAVING THE VOTES SET WHEN THEY CAME TO MEETINGS. THE WORK SESSIONS ALLOW ALL COUNCIL MEMBERS TO MEET FACE TO FACE AND ASK EACH OTHER QUESTIONS AND BECOME BETTER INFORMED ABOUT COUNCIL MATTERS. THIS STOPS A LOT OF THE BACKSTABBING AND MISINFORMATION THAT HAS GONE ON IN THE PAST. SOME COUNCIL MEMBERS DON'T LIKE THEM ONLY BECAUSE IT HAS ELIMINATED A TACTIC THEY HAVE USED FOR YEARS IN TRYING TO CONTROL WHAT THE COUNCIL PASSES. AS I SAID OTHER CITIES DO THIS AND IT IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.IT IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AND IT ONLY MAKES SENSE THAT THIS IS FOR COUNCIL MEMBERS TO BECOME INFORMED ABOUT ISSUES AND LONG PUBLIC COMMENTS WOULD DEFEAT THE PURPOSE OF THE SESSIONS. HOWEVER THE PUBLIC CAN ATTEND AND CAN ALSO LEARN WHAT IS BEING DISCUSSED SO THEY WILL BE BETTER PREPARED TO ASK QUESTIONS AT THE REGULAR MEETINGS. I HAVE BEEN TO COUNCIL MEETINGS BUT NOT TO WORK SESSIONS YET, BUT I PLAN TO ATTEND A FEW WHEN TIME ALLOWS---AS I SAID--I THINK THEY ARE A GOOD IDEA.

Tim Deatrick said...

To Emersonlives: Thank you for the compliment, I am more than happy to inform fellow bloggers regarding the council meetings and all other issues relevant here in New Albany, I can never attain the lofty title of the Hunter S Thompson of New Albany but I try. Obviously my account of the council meeting gave a bit more information than official channels, glad I could help.

Tim Deatrick said...

a few other things that happened at the council meeting: Bill Schmidt questioned the altering of the Sept.23,2004 official minutes (more info to come forward)Dan Coffey took the Rasputin of Redevelopment John Rosenbarger to task reagrding the so called laying off of Faye Banet due to changing needs of the department and the subsequent request by Rosenbarger of additional staff, the Mayor stated that a 30% reduction in the budget is probable and that all non-essential personnel are subject to being cut, according to Jimmy the only essential employees are Police and Fire. In order to calm the expected nervousness of the sanitation employee who took the podium about thier job security, Garner and his parrot Donnie "in an oblivion" Blevins stated the sanitation department would not be privatized, despite the fact that two Rumpke employees were recently visting the sanitation department head Jodi Johnson, meanwhile the sanitation employee told yours truly that the union has not met for months and they are still operating without a 2005 contract, if they aren't considering privatizing sanitation why hasn't the union and the city signed a contract yet?

Regarding Scribner Place, Jack "of a lesser mind" Messer asked Yvonne Kersey if she would use the YMCA if it were here as an answer to her question regarding the cost and the city's precarious financial situation, Bev "easy to stump" Crump nodded with Messer like a classically trained animal, perhaps Blevins sitting between them is a test to see if she still picks up on his cue.

Thanks for tuning in, be sure and catch Valla Ann's taping of the council meeting this sunday, assuming WNAS gets it right this time.

Until next time this is your roving Gonzo reporter from the front!

East Ender said...

So, since when has New Albany followed the rules with anything, let alone hiring practices. It's all about the 'Good 'ol Boy' networking don't ya know?
Why bother with questions like,"Are ya smart enough to come outta that buildin' when it's on fire?" it's better just to know if they are a "Good Christian" in THERE(sp?) heart.
How scared is everybody else right now? Because I'm about to take the first flight out of here if this bull$#%*&! continues.
Why do our city leaders seem to think that civil rights and governmental regulations don't apply here and they can just run amuck with money we keep getting told we don't have?
What in the world is going on?!
This new young boy Economic Development Director at $36,500(?) ought to be the first to go, as we cannot afford to pay for another political favor right now.
I'm sorry, but at 24 years of age I just don't have a lot of faith in this Garner decision either. Least we forget David White (gasp!) or Eddie Hancock (ouch) so easily.
Come on folks! We MUST step up and insist on fair and accessible city management.
City government is effectively, and ultimately, run through the City Council process. Yet we've all been told to go to the Board of Works meetings with issues and complaints (10:30AM Tuesdays...how many can make that?)and we will be allowed 5 minutes to address our elected council twice a month.
And why are all the same faces showing up on all the other boards and commisssions in the city? Why is Coffey on 6 or 7 boards? How do other council members show up on 4 or 5?
How do they really decide on pet projects? Why do they insist on persisting with bad ideas?
Too much power in the hands of too few leaders leads to too many big problems.
By the way, I don't go to church. I guess that means I don't qualify to be a good firefighter.

P.S. I like the 'nick's you've come up with Tim, nice fits.

Brandon W. Smith said...

Eastender,

A lot of us who frequent this board are painfully aware of the things you describe above and have been discussing it for the last few months. You are not alone! I've trying to meet and talk to as many people as possible in the area (especially younger professionals) and they all seem to agree on the need to smash the good ol' boy network in this town.

Regardless of political options, there are many concrete things we can do outside of the government channels to change the atmosphere in NA (especially in terms of downtown reviatalization). We need to make sure we are doing things that attract young people ... changing our good ol' boy image is essential to doing that.

Can you send please me an email (check my profile)?

ConcernedNACitizen said...

In response to s.a.Nelson. The firefighter's union did not make the comments about the hiring process.. If you remember Deputy Chief Stan Mason made those comments about being a family member with kids and being a member of a church as part of thier questions during the hiring process..The firefighter's union was represented by Tony Wolfe. He was more in favor of the new hiring process and making sure that the department is funded enough to make the hiring process and a possible promotional system work right...Mr. Mason being a Deputy Chief, is an appointed position by the mayor. He in no way represents the firefighter's union with any comments about the New Albany fire dept. The firefighter's union has no input on the hiring process and that seems funny being that the Police Merit board has 2 N.A. police officers on it...So the blame falls on a Deputy Chief that the mayor appoints. Not the firefighter's union.

ConcernedNACitizen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tim Deatrick said...

concernednacitizen thank you that clarification regarding the fact that Stanley Mason does not speak for the union. You are very correct that Mason and Toran as appointees to the Mayor speak for the administration when they speak publicly regarding the NA Fire Department. I found it very ironic when Chief toran said,"We are all union" I thought when a rank and file firefighter became Chief and asst. Chief their union status ended until such time that an administration change took place and the mayor's appointees were demoted back to rank and file. Don't worry Concernednacitizen, Mr. Toran and Mr. Mason will likely become union again after the 2007 elections. I respect the fact that the firefighters' union has the courage and fortitude to speak freely regarding the Mayor's and Toran's flawed hiring ordinance, the union deserves a voice in the hiring process, why should your people be excluded, after all you are just as much of a professional as the police who sit on the merit board.

ConcernedNACitizen said...

Thank you Mr. Deatrick for your response on my posting. Your thoughts are correct on the appointed positions from the mayor's office. In big city fire departments,the appointed positions of chief and deputy cheif use withdrawel cards to excuse themself's from union activity during thier tinure in an administrative position. They still recieve all the benifits that the union barters with the city, but has no say in that process... In talking with some of the N.A. firefighters i understand that's not the case here. The Mayor has his chief and deputy chiefs sit in on negotiations with the union. I understand there were many meeting's between the city and the union without the chief and deputy chief's being there and there was a lot of things agreed upon.Then the mayor decices to talk with his chief and deputy chief's about what the union and him agreed upon. After that meeting something funny happened. He decided that some of theagreed upon things, the city did'nt agree with them now. To me that shows the mayor is basically letting the appointed administration run the negotations between the city and the union which is wrong. In doing my homework on this matter, I thought the chief was appointed to run the fire department and to make sure the current contract between the City and the Fire dept.is followed by each member on the department. But the way it sounds. That's not being done. The chief should have no say in what the union and city agree upon for the contract. He is there to enforce what the union and city agree upon