The council approved 3-2, over the protests of members John Davis and Judy Whitaker, the sale for $13,000 of the Snorkle engine, belonging to the now disbanded Cloverdale town fire department. Sublett presented the council with a bill of sale and a cashier's check from the Albuquerque, N.M. couple who agreed to buy the vehicle.
The buyers flew into Indianapolis earlier in the day and Sublett picked them up at the airport and showed them the truck, the council president said. During the meeting they were resting in the hotel room, planning to drive the vehicle the 1,200 miles back to New Mexico today, he added. Clerk-Treasurer Patti Truax said she did not have documentation on how much the town originally paid for the fire truck.
Council Vice President Dennis Padgett offered the motion to sign the bill of sale and use money to pay down the $150,000 bond that was issued when the town launched the department in 2005. Davis and Whitaker questioned Sublett's authority to move forward with the sale throughout, and even after, the meeting.
Whitaker asked whether Sublett had gone through the proper channels to sell the vehicle.
By law, municipal equipment must be subject to public advertisement and bidding before it can be sold. Sublett said he advertised the truck on a state-government approved website and checked with the state board of accounts.
Whitaker and Davis both said Sublett only had approval to advertise the sale of the vehicle with the state.
Town Attorney Allan Yackey said the council's vote in August gave the president the authority to sign anything he needed in order to get rid of the fire truck. Both Whitaker and Davis said they were not told about the buyers until Sublett called the special meeting last week.
Moving forward without notifying the rest of the council and getting approval violated the mediated agreement the board members had, they said.
After the meeting, Davis said he voted against the motion because he objected to selling equipment that is the subject of a current lawsuit.
Davis and Whitaker are suing Cloverdale in an attempt to dissolve the town's agreement to use the services of the township volunteer fire department.
Davis said the truck -- no matter which department uses it -- could be useful to the town because of its extendable bucket. For his part, Sublett said he was doing his best to liquidate the three fire engines.
"The town doesn't want to own the trucks, we want to sell the trucks," he said.
At a meeting last week, council members voted 3-2, along predictable lines, to take a lawsuit filed by an Iowa company to trial.
The issue in front of the board resulted from a May 2006 suit filed by Simon Fire Equipment and Repair.
Simon sued the town for breach of contract after the board voted to accept the firm's bid to sell Cloverdale a $230,000 fire truck, pending "favorable financing." Later, the council voted 3-2 against issuing the bond.
In January, Putnam County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley ruled in favor of the town, though a state appeals court rejected the ruling and sent the case back to Putnam County for trial.