The City of Leadington is attempting to get back on track following the resignation of city officials including the city clerk, police chief, court clerk, mayor, and an alderman.
The remaining two aldermen, Gary McKinney, and Cassie Schrum, along with the city’s mayor pro tem, Debbi Matthews held a board meeting Tuesday to take care of pressing matters.
The first item of new business was to announce the hiring of the new city clerk, Cindy Briley.
“We’re getting things back on track,” said Matthews. “We’re getting the city all staffed again and getting back to business.”
Schrum said that Briley is already getting the hang of things in the new position.
“I want to add that she’s done a remarkable job just in the short time that she’s been here,” said Schrum “If you all have noticed the office – she has got it under control.”
McKinney expressed his appreciation saying that, while Briley has only been in the clerk position for a little over a week, he has already noticed a huge difference in what’s going on in the office.
Next, the board accepted the resignations from last month of Alderman Misty Dean, City Mayor Dustin Winick, and this month of Officer Matthew Misuraca. Misuraca is leaving the Leadington force to possibly pursue a career further north.
McKinney thanked Misuraca for his service to the city and wished him the best of luck. Misuraca expressed his gratitude for the city as well.
“It’s been a pleasure working here with the city,” said Misuraca. “The citizens have been great to me.”
Next, the mayor pro tem appointed a new alderman to the city’s board. Alderman Joe Davis was sworn in by the new city clerk during the meeting.
After Davis was sworn in, the new board began working their way down the agenda. Some of the items on the agenda had to be tabled until the next meeting as City Attorney Mark Bishop was unable to make the meeting due to a scheduling conflict.
Among some of the other matters that the board was able to address included assessing important needs of the city’s police and fire departments.
Sgt. Erik Powers briefed the board on the needs of the police department which include patrol vehicle repairs and upgrades as well as the need for a new bulletproof vest for Powers.
Next, the board heard from Fire Chief Doug Graham and Captain Thomas Hill about the immediate needs of the fire department. The department needs include a new oxygen bottle for one of the breathing apparatus the department uses. Other needs include a fire hose coupling and two new computers for filing reports to FEMA.
The fire department is also in need of new turnout gear which they weren’t asking for in the meeting but Hill stressed that they needed to get the ball rolling especially if they were going to be using grant money to pay for the gear. Hill explained that the new breathing apparatus the department bought with a grant took about a year and a half to get and the department could not wait that long for new turnout gear. The firefighters discussed options, such as leasing gear, with the board that could speed up the process.
The board approved the purchase of the hose couplings and oxygen tank purchase but said they would like to see some of the prices and more information from local retailers before making a decision on buying the new computers.
Matthews said that the board would be addressing the need for turnout gear soon.
The board moved on to approve building permits including a permit for Flieg’s Equipment to build a 30-by-40 foot pole barn on their property. A residential building permit was also issued.
The last item on the agenda was a motion to pay bills that the city needed to pay in order to remain operational. Some of the bills included utility bills, insurance, and fuel for city vehicles.
“We’re still getting everything straightened out but we’re in good shape,” Matthews said before the vote.
When Matthews asked for the motion to approve the payment of city bills, two people from the audience spoke up and asked what bills were being paid to which Matthews responded saying, “everything that keeps the city going…”
When asked, by an audience member, for an itemized list of what bills the city would be paying, Schrum said that the city clerk was still learning the system but was comfortable with what checks she was signing to bring the city into current status in regards to bills owed.
“We have a fantastic clerk who is still learning the system,” said Schrum. “We had bills that needed to be paid … those bills have been paid to keep this city running and this city is running.”
Schrum went on to explain that the bills were finally up to date and that the city had apparently been behind on the bills since last September.
“I can tell you all that the insurance – we had less than 24 hours until every insurance for the city was going to be canceled,” Schrum explained.
Schrum said that they discovered that the insurance bill was due by finding an email, that had been opened several times, stating the impending due date of the insurance payment but no one had prepared that bill to be paid.
“That email came in May, and we did have a mayor and clerk so that can’t be used for an excuse,” said Schrum.
McKinney made the motion to pay bills stating that it was necessary to operate the city.
“I know that we are not charging things on credit cards right now and I’m confident that it’s OK to pay bills right now,” McKinney said.
Matthews said that all but one city credit card had been shut off. The mayor pro tem then explained that the only credit card the city holds has her name on it because the card had to have a name but that it was under “lock and key and hasn’t even been activated yet.”
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3628, or at email@example.com.