Standing room only at Toulon Council

toulonIt was standing room only at the Toulon City Council meeting Monday evening.  There was little discussion of the incident a week ago Monday involving the Toulon City Mayor Rick Collins, city employee Jamie Gerard and councilwoman Jenni Davis.  
During employee reports, Jamie Gerard addressed the council: “Now that I’m no longer in charge of the cemetery, I’d like the council to decide what is going to be done with job duties.”
Mayor Collins responded with, “There has been no change in responsibility of duties.  The people who were responsible for items last week are responsible for those same items this week.” 
Later in the meeting, Michele Schisler asked the council, “What’s going to happen? Something needs to be done.”  Councilman Phil Albertson stated, “We as the council cannot do anything at this time.  We need to wait and see what becomes of the State Police investigation.”  Based on informal comments overheard during the meeting, there are clearly deep fustrations existing between the council and the mayor.
Mayor Collins stated that the “incident” at the cemetery was a personnel issue. The mayor was dealing with an employee and his unacceptable behavior on the job as well as employee job performance not up to standards outlined by the mayor.  
The mayor specifically mentioned the following issues: an employee charged with using racial epithets not being given a two week furlough; the cemetery being mowed less than 3 ½ inches, and having persons doing city work who have not applied for work or have W-4s or applications on file at city hall.
The mayor ended his statements with, “It is and remains an internal matter.”
The Mayor continued with the regular city council meeting, not allowing further comments on the issue.
Representatives from the Sharkey family asked for an update on the Mausoleum repairs.  Councilman Phil Albertson asked the family if they had entered a contract with the city to the upkeep of the building.  They responded in the negative.
Mayor Collins interjected that the city had taken over responsibility of the building in the 1950s.  Collins further stated that the council was waiting on a written estimate of the cost of repairs from Lackey Monument.  At the last council meeting the mayor stated that an estimate to fix the mausoleum would cost around $11,000.  The subject was tabled until a written estimate of the repairs was obtained and a verification of the city’s responsibility for the repairs.
The Mayor addressed the issue of police coverage from the County.
“I have email documentation and three proposals from the county for police patrols for the city,” stated Collins. As outlined by the mayor, one proposal stated that the county would charge $100 for every hour of coverage.  
Another stated that the county would provide eight hours of dedicated patrols for the same cost the city currently pays for coverage, but with an additional administration fee of $10,000 a year.  A third possibility mentioned by the mayor stated that the county would provide coverage for $50,000 a year, but would not guarantee set times of patrol or dedicated hours of coverage.  
The mayor also reported that he is in contact with five agencies for grants and loans for city projects that are currently being considered.  The two projects are the new sewer project for the west end of Toulon and the water drainage problems for the south east side.  An engineer’s survey for the water drainage project will be completed this week and specific plans outlined so that some construction can be completed before the end of the year.
The council approved an ad for the 2010-2011 sports season for the Stark County Athletic Boosters in the amount of $70.  The board also approved a training ordinance for police officers, which will update the city’s ordinances and policies.  The council approved a motion that Jenni Davis gather quotes to place better safety areas around the playground equipment in the Toulon Park and present the quotes at the next council meeting.  The next regular board meeting will be on September 13 at 6 p.m.

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