Council hears stern warning

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

CLOVERDALE -- Prior to the beginning of Tuesday's council meeting, Cloverdale Town Council President Don Sublett had to air a few concerns.

Sublett had been troubled by the council's "behavior" during its May meeting and on Tuesday, he hoped to settle the issue.

"Before this meeting begins, I am making a statement to the council," he began. "I absolutely will not tolerate a tirade behavior like last month's meeting. There will not be outbursts, shouting, name calling or any other misconduct.

"All council members will show respect for the gavel, respect for the chair and respect for each other. When the gavel is struck, everyone will come to order and you must cease speaking. Are there any questions?"

"How do you plan to enforce that," council member John Davis asked.

Sublett then threatened to adjourn the meeting before it even began.

However, whether the meeting would continue or not hinged on a vote for claims from May 25.

Town clerk/treasurer Patti Truax read off claims for May 25 in the amount of $63,967.56.

Council member Judy Whitaker motioned to pay the claims, but no member offered a second.

With no second on the horizon, Sublett turned to town attorney Allan Yackey to ask what happens if there was no second.

"The motion dies," Yackey said.

"Mr. President," Whitaker asked, "I can't imagine this town won't pay its bills when it has the money to do so."

After waiting a few minutes for a second, Whitaker restated her motion.

"Is there a second to pay these bills," Sublett asked.

Sublett then went around the table, preparing to ask each council member why they would not offer a second.

It stopped at council member Glen Vickroy.

Vickroy said he was concerned regarding the paying of $72.59 for what amounted to a stipend for clothing and automobile allowances for some members of the former Cloverdale Town Fire Department.

According to Truax, the allowance was part of Indiana Code 36-8-12-5, which states a unit served by a volunteer fire department shall pay to each active and participating member of the department, including:

  • A clothing allowance of not less than $100 per year, and

  • An automobile allowance of not less than $100 per year for the use of the member's automobile in the line of duty.

    Truax said that the amount, however, had been pro-rated for the amount of time the fire department was functioning this year.

    In April, the council voted 3-2 in favor of placing town fire protection back in the hands of the Cloverdale Township Volunteer Fire Department.

    Still, Vickroy said he did not think the council should have to pay the allowances.

    But Council Vice President Dennis Padgett said he would second the motion.

    "We're going to move on with this meeting," Padgett said.

    The council voted 4-1 in favor of paying the claims, with Vickroy voting against the measure.

    Tuesday's claims, however, also presented a challenge for the council.

    After Truax read off the claims in the amount of $48,490.55, Whitaker said she was concerned regarding phone calls which appeared on the bill made by the town attorney, something she has brought up in past meetings.

    "Is there a reason we don't identify the purpose of a phone call again," Whitaker said.

    A motion was made to pay the claims and the council voted 3-1, with Davis voting no. Truax then looked to Whitaker for her vote.

    "I vote yea, but I am not pleased with (Yackey)," she said.

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