CLOVERDALE -- In a special town council meeting Friday night, an interim clerk-treasurer was appointed while the utility manager was terminated effective immediately.
Cathleen Monaco will act as the town's interim clerk-treasurer until the council makes an official appointment for the replacement of Patti Truax, who suddenly resigned from the post July 1. Truax narrowly won the 2007 election against Monaco, defeating her by only seven votes.
Town attorney Allen Yackey described the situation as "awkward," due to Truax never appointing a deputy clerk to perform necessary duties in the absence of the clerk-treasurer.
However, the town had a deputy clerk treasurer until the beginning of 2010. In a December 2009 meeting, the council voted to eliminate the deputy clerk's position from the 2010 salary ordinance.
"That means the position is empty -- literally no one to handle finances including payroll," Yackey said. "We have payroll coming up next week and no one is authorized to sign checks or perform banking duties."
Monaco will assume the position temporarily to help get payroll processed and other necessary financial tasks completed. Yackey stressed the importance of the "new clerk-treasurer to be someone with municipal accounting knowledge and the background necessary for the position.
"This is real work," Yackey said.
The town's new clerk-treasurer will have a mess to clean up once appointed. Tipton said there have been computer hard drive issues, which could mean the new clerk-treasurer would have to "start from scratch." In addition, there have been some bounced checks and an uncertainty about fund balances.
Yackey suggested the town find the funds to hire an accounting firm and Keystone to help Truax's replacement. "The new person needs to know the problems and you need to find the funds for assistance to the new person," he said.
The council will meet at 9 a.m. July 24 at town hall to make an official appointment of clerk-treasurer.
In a motion by council member Terry Puffer, the council voted 3 to 2 to terminate Don Guthrie as utility manager effective immediately. Council members Don Sublett and Larry Fiddler voted against the motion.
"Things are not getting done and I have many unhappy employees right now," said council president Cathy Tipton. "There will be some restructuring in this town."
Rich Saucerman, a longtime utility employee and Cloverdale's water operator for the better part of 12 years, agreed to be the interim utility manager for the next four to six weeks. He will be responsible for general direction of employees until a permanent replacement for Guthrie can be found.
"If you keep status quo, we'll be happy," said Puffer.
Tipton and council member Dennis Padgett stated residents have been complaining about things not getting done and they have had enough.
"Enough is enough," said Padgett.
Tipton said she is "tired of the resistance from employees and it was time to clean house."
She said she would meet with the utility workers Saturday morning to inform them of the changes.