Police Chief Remains On Leave, Pole Barn Hot Topic At Edon Village Council

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The Edon Village Council met in regular session on Monday, November 21, 2016. Tom Szymczak, Police Chief, who has been on paid administrative leave since the fatal shooting of John Anderson on June 16, 2016, was in attendance. On November 2, 2016, the Williams County Grand Jury decided not to indict Szymczak in regards to the shooting. During open session, council made no mention of the Grand Jury’s decision, nor did they discuss the status of the police chief’s position. The group did enter in to executive session for almost an hour to discuss compensation, imminent litigation, dismissal, or discipline of an employee, but returned with no action taken and promptly adjourned the meeting with no further comment.

The hot topic of the meeting was the status of a building being constructed on village resident, Brian Moffett’s, property. Council member, Dick Chapin, opened the discussion by reminding the other members that at the October meeting Village Solicitor, Tom Thompson, informed council that a “Stop Work” Order was said to be in force on “Moffet’s Garage”. Chapin went on to claim that as he understood the structure is now, “Pretty well done”! He went on to say that when each council member took their oath that they swore to uphold the laws and everything else that pertained to the Village. In his opinion this had not been done in regards to the building. Chapin went on to note that he specifically asked at the October meeting what would happen if the building was completed. Additionally, Chapin said, “I was informed that council member, Andy Ledyard, was one who told Mr. Moffett it was okay to complete the structure”. Mr. Ledyard spoke up and added that Mayor Thiel also had granted permission to finish the building. Chapin then stated, “Then you both are wrong!”

Council President, Lee Lawrence, interjected that since the topic was tabled at the last meeting, it must be untabled in order to be discussed. Chapin moved the topic be taken off the table, and Gale Horn seconded the motion. A roll call vote was held, with only Chapin and Horn casting “Yes” to untable the topic.

This action caused some obvious displeasure from not only Chapin, but a few visitors in attendance. Chapin added, “This tells me we have some councilmen who cannot be trusted”.

Council member, Mike Lirot, then directed a question to Mr. Thompson. “When you have an ordinance, and the ordinance has been overlooked and you allow someone else do the same thing in this case, by letting that happen what does that do to the ordinance?”

Thompson explained that ordinances are in effect until they are repealed by the Council. He added, “As long as an ordinance is in place, it is subject to be enforced. Enforcement should be a uniform function, however it is not always. For example I’m sure people speed through town often, you don’t catch everybody. You try to enforce the ordinances the best you can.”

In additional items, Police officer, Scott Wilson, reported since the last meeting he provided a presentation at the Edon Library on fingerprints for Home School Students on October 19th at the and also on Trick or Treat safety on October 26.

Randy Mahlman, Village Administrator, updated the Council on the following:
1. A surprise compost visit was conducted by the EPA. All went well according to Mr. Mahlman.

2. Mr. Mahlman attended a prevailing wage seminar conducted by the County

3. Updated Council on the progress of the Family Dollar building. Sorensen is the developer, and Wilson Excavating is in charge of the excavation. Wilson’s are charged with doing all the ground work and storm sewer work. They are projected these items to be completed prior to winter. However, the building or asphalt work will not be started until spring as the contract requires that the building must be open for business no more than 90 days after those processes begin. The main concern is how much longer the hot mix plant will be open this fall. The plan is to get all the prep work done this fall, then as soon as possible this spring the building and parking lot will be completed.

4. Leaf pick up is still being completed.

5. A water main that broke on Saturday, November 19, that has been repaired.

In Old Business, Council accepted the 2nd Reading of Ordinance 06-16 Zoning. This ordinance addresses adopting amendments to the text of the village meeting zoning ordinance regarding the maximum size and lot coverage area for certain accessary structures modifying rules regarding fencing around private swimming pools and modifying the time frames in which certain actions must be taken for future amendments to the zoning ordinance. The 2nd reading passed by a 5-1 vote with council member, Chip Hulbert, casting the dissenting vote.

An update on the Employee Handbook was presented by Village Solicitor Tom Thompson. Mr. Thompson emphasized this was simply a draft. He encouraged the council members to read it over and provide input back to him, stressing this was a comprehensive document and he wanted input from Council. The members agreed to begin looking it over and be prepared to discuss the handbook in December.

New Business included Council voting unanimously to approve the request of police officer, Scott Wilson, to cash in his 1 week of unused vacation. Wilson was making the request as he was not certain he would be able to utilize the vacation time in the near future, or in next year either.

They were also all in agreement to approve a $50 Christmas gift to all village employees. Council also discussed employee wage increases for 2017. Mr. Thompson explained that on December 1, the Fair Labor Standards Act would go into effect, and that would affect some of the employees who would have to have an hourly rate established, or have a salary increase that would bring the village in compliance. Under this Act, employees had to record their time. Flex Time and Comp Time were also explained.

The Finance Committee agreed to discuss the topics and come back with recommendations for Council at the December meeting.
Edon Village Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be Monday, December 19, 2016, at 7 pm.

Kent Hutchison can be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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