Employees file formal complaints against Cloverdale councilman

Thursday, March 28, 2019

CLOVERDALE -- A Cloverdale council member is now at the heart of two recent complaints for alleged hostile behavior toward town employees.

During a special town council meeting held Tuesday evening, Town Manager Wayne Galloway presented two formal complaints against Gary Bennington which stem from a recent confrontation at the town’s wastewater plant.

According to Galloway Bennington entered the plant without permission and grilled wastewater laborers about their duties. After a brief exchange, Bennington allegedly accused them of being liars before being asked to leave the plant.

Bennington is accused of later approaching the town utility clerk regarding the wastewater employees and was also belligerent during this encounter. According to Galloway, Bennington threatened the employee in the same manner he exhibited against the wastewater laborers, asking if they knew who he was and being demanding.

The two complaints were submitted by the utility clerk as well as one of the wastewater laborers. The town manager also proposed that the council consider an ordinance stating that only authorized personnel be allowed on the premises of the utility plant, and that any visitors must be escorted by Galloway or Richard Saucerman, the town’s water treatment manager.

Bennington, who serves as the at-large member on the council, offered no comment after he was identified as the subject of the complaints, and did not seem phased or concerned by the content of them. Bennington did not return a call for a statement regarding the complaints from the Banner Graphic on Thursday.

After Galloway informed the council of the complaints, it did not take any further action other than acknowledging that they were filed. The Banner Graphic could not reach Town Attorney Daniel Hofmann Thursday for comment about future steps the council could take regarding Bennington’s conduct.

The council next heard a request by Post Commander Aaron Howard of American Legion Post 281 to use an alleyway running north and south to ease traffic out of the post’s parking lot during evening activities. Howard provided that the post was already working on paving their lot, but that the alley would prevent congestion onto U.S. 231 through the only exit.

While the council acknowledged the alley’s use could alleviate the issue, Council Vice President Cindy Holland shared concerns about headlights shining into houses along the route, as well as for the safety of children playing. Though an audience member questioned why children would be playing in the street at night and whether residents could simply close their window blinds, Holland was adamant that the traffic posed a safety issue, as well as an unnecessary nuisance.

Councilman Greg Jay proposed that Post 281 could plant trees to block the headlights, as well as to put up a privacy fence to discourage children from wandering near the property. Howard said that he would take those suggestions back to the post’s leadership, and that the parking lot would be paved no matter what. The town council approved the post’s use of the alley, although with a dissenting vote from Holland.

The council also heard a complaint filed by a resident regarding a sewer backup at 2 U Drive. Galloway recounted that a sewer line had to be recently opened due to a blockage. When the line was excavated, sewage was then pushed back into the residence due to there not being a backflow preventer installed.

Galloway provided that an ordinance passed in 2017 stipulates that a backflow preventer must be installed, and that the town should not be held liable for any damages since the home was not in compliance. The council agreed and no action was taken to address the complaint, which alleged negligence on the town’s part, despite the current owner knowing that no such device was present.

In another agenda item, the council also approved the publication of letting of bids for the demolition of property at 71 Bubble Loo Rd. and 151 S. Grant St. Galloway told the Banner Graphic that demolition at 335 Someday Way in the Stardust Hills community had already taken place.

The council finally opened a bid from Chad Cummings which offered $700 to rent seven acres of farmland which is owned by the town. With no discussion, the council approved the offer.

The next town council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9 at 7 p.m. in the Cloverdale Town Hall.

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    Its not against the law to be an a**hole, if that is truly what happened.

    However, I would think it is against the law (trespassing) to "enter[ed] the plant without permission". Even without a town ordinance stating such.

    The way the story reads anyone can just walk into the wastewater plant b/c there is currently no ordinance.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Fri, Mar 29, 2019, at 8:47 AM
  • So we have heard one side of the story and we all know that the Town of Cloverdale Clerk and Manager want to take over and run everything. Chances are Bennington has said some thing they didn't like so now they are out to get him. So now from what I have heard there is 2 people that the Town continuously picks on for the stupidest things. They need to get their crap together and realize what certain people do for Cloverdale. (I'm sorry Cheryl but I mean more than painting fire hydrants). There is something really wrong here. How can Wayne hold town manager and building inspector and really how can he have either one being married to the Clerk. Also anyone that has meet Bennington knows this is unlike him. You people, Wayne & Cheryl Galloway, are destroying Cloverdale. It is about time that the residents stand up and take back control of your town before it is to late!

    -- Posted by putnamcountyproud on Fri, Mar 29, 2019, at 1:48 PM
  • Amen to what putnamcountyproud said. I have no understanding of what any of the town ordinances are but I do know that Gary Bennington is more knowledgeable of what our town needs than anyone else. A husband and wife team running a town is wrong wrong wrong!!!!! Wake up Cloverdale!!!

    -- Posted by Nit on Fri, Mar 29, 2019, at 2:03 PM
  • must be election season. The hunters are out trespassing on others property (keep your opinion to your self). How about this. Why don't the citizens get to know the candidates to find out what they stand for and vote May 7th, instead of shooting (your mouths) out of season!!!!

    I know Mr. Bennington he has served this community for 8 years and he is eighty years old. As far as the Galloways' These complaints were not filed by the Galloways. They were filed by employees working at there stations. Its hard enough to get good employees without micro-managing them or harassing them.

    All this crap is about the election and nothing else.

    -- Posted by Franklinheart on Fri, Mar 29, 2019, at 3:10 PM
  • I'm not running for election clerl. People keeping their opinions to their selves is part of the problem. Nobody stands up against the Galloway's but constantly complain about what they are doing. Cloverdale does not have a mayor although Cheryl acts like it. I hope come election time that several people are replaced and have a fresh group to step in, listen to the residents and have a more united community!

    -- Posted by putnamcountyproud on Fri, Mar 29, 2019, at 4:37 PM
  • Hmm..trying to recall if it is possible that any citizen may have spoke harshly to a town employee? Seriously! And, this is the one citizen a couple of employees took the time to make a record of it?

    What I do know is that the town clerk has a history of repeating and spreading untruths to the point that other citizens take it for fact.

    And, further, I'm not sure if I've met a bigger class act than Gary Bennington who has always conducted himself as a gentleman. He went door-to-door to introduce himself and ask neighbors for their votes.

    I'm pretty sure that most citizens are quite comfortable with Mr. Bennington and the time he takes to educate himself on our behalf. Keep up the good work, Gary!

    -- Posted by letspulltogether on Sat, Mar 30, 2019, at 2:07 AM
  • Good to have you back Cloverdale! After a relatively quiet period, this dysfunctional town government is back to its normal entertainment mode, just in time for the May primary election.

    -- Posted by Ben Dover on Sat, Mar 30, 2019, at 9:36 AM
  • I think that all you politicians are crazy. You all always think you know what is best for all the public. None of you can run a town, I mean if you could then this wouldn't of been an conversation. If you all want to be hero's, than let's talk about how we need to save the dying truck stop, it's an cloverdale icon. Or the cleanup of the fallen building on main street. Your like a bunch of stupid highschoolers starting rumors.

    -- Posted by Peterpan44 on Sat, Mar 30, 2019, at 6:56 PM
  • Hostile work inviroment can be taken to the EEOC. So for those who seem to think maybe it's nothing guess again.

    Law applies to everyone.

    So many times my older generation doesnt have a clue these employment rules exist. Hope the best comes out for both sides.

    -- Posted by whill on Sun, Mar 31, 2019, at 11:42 AM
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