CLOVERDALE -- For the second time in a row, dispute among board members and other town officials drew Cloverdale's monthly town council meeting into a lengthy event on Tuesday evening.
The meeting stretched a formidable three hours and covered a controversial bill owed to OW Krohn and Associates, a lengthy report by Building Inspector Mark Cassida, and finalizing litigation involving former Town Marshal Charlie Hallam.
The discussion concerning money owed to Krohn and Associates -- a financial consultation firm out of Westfield -- for services rendered sparked a debate between council Vice President Dennis Padgett and clerk-treasurer Cathleen Monaco. Council had issue with the bill in that Krohn consultants -- over the weeks they aided Monaco with her duties as clerk treasure -- refused to give council President Cathy Tipton an estimate of cost.
"I asked several times for a ball-park figure," said Tipton.
The council members -- particularly Padgett -- felt that the cost had been hidden from them until it was time for Cloverdale to receive the bill.
"It's typical government," said Padgett, "You're hiding cost. I don't want to hide cost."
The debate between Padgett and Monaco went on for some time before prompting two public audience members to begin shouting at the council members. Tipton had to eventually use her gavel to quiet matters and bring the session to order.
The motion to pay Krohn and Associates eventually passed, with Tipton and Padgett voting in the negative.
Building Inspector Mark Cassida gave a report updating the many issues of alleys in town and where they end and if the pins currently in place are accurate. The issue had been a staple of the last meeting as well. The council passed a motion to have the alleys surveyed and to wait to further move until surveys revealed true alley boundaries.
Cassida went on to say that the condition of the former Holiday Inn off U.S 231 had become unacceptable.
"It was already a public safety hazard," said Cassida, "It is now a hazard to the businesses around them with the debris falling off of the building."
In the old business section of the meeting, the board was hesitant to finalize a settlement to the controversial litigation with demoted Marshal Hallam.
"My problem with it is what it always was," said council member Terry Puffer, "That is that we didn't do anything wrong and so we should stick to our guns."
Puffer and council member Don Sublett voted in the negative on the motion to accept the settlement. Tipton and council member Larry Fidler both felt that they should take the advice from legal council and insurance to settle even though they too were uncomfortable with the situation.
Padgett remained hesitant for a number of minutes before voting in the affirmative, effectively passing the motion so that the council could "just move on."