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Mayor breaks tie in vote that puts water department under his oversight

SALYERSVILLE – The Salyersville City Council had a split vote on the second reading of an ordinance that would dissolve the city’s water commission, with the mayor breaking the tie and allowing the ordinance to pass, which will in essence put the Salyersville Water Works under his control.

On Wednesday, October 4, the council met for a special-called meeting for the sole purpose or reviewing the ordinance that would appeal the ordinance that originally established the city’s water commission. Since they held the first reading last week, this week’s meeting served as the second reading.

Prior to voting, Council Member Patricia Frazier asked, “If we proceed and it becomes another city department, and we are unable to do what we intend to do, and the state comes in and takes it over, what will that do to the other departments?”

In the last meeting, they discussed the possibility of bringing in a third party to oversee the water department, but the council would have to dissolve the commission, first, then hire a third party, as such.

Councilmen Tex Holbrook and Paul Montgomery said they would also like more clarification on Frazier’s question, as well, before voting for the new ordinance. Montgomery also voiced concerns about the move placing total control with the mayor, and possibly keeping the council from having any say in future matters.

Council Member Phyllis Howard motioned to move forward with the ordinance and Colin Ray Jackson seconded it. In a roll-call vote, Phyllis Howard, Colin Ray Jackson and Darrell Arnett voted in favor of the second reading of the ordinance repealing the ordinance that set up the city’s water commission. Paul Montgomery, Tex Holbrook and Patricia Frazier voted against it, citing wanting more information. Mayor Stanley Howard served as the tiebreaker, voting in favor of the second reading, effectively dissolving the water commission and putting the water department under his control.

Mayor Howard already stated in the previous meeting he would bring the water department operations to city hall and all hiring and firing would be under his supervision.

Prior to this year, the water commission had not seen much board turnover, however, since January the board has struggled to keep members.

Mayor Howard had Terry Marshall removed from the board since his vacancy was reappointed by former Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd in December, but the vacancy didn’t start until January, meaning it would be Howard’s decision.

This seems to be where the commission hit shaky ground. For Marshall’s vacancy, Howard appointed Tommy Bailey, and after the first meeting Commissioner Jim Hoskins and Superintendent David Gardner resigned.

Howard then appointed Jim Arnett to the commission and Nora Howard as the superintendent. Arnett also resigned after his first meeting and Commissioner Josh Puckett resigned due to moving out of the district, leaving Tommy Bailey as the only water commissioner on the board. With only one board member left, they have been unable to hold a legal public meeting to pay the bills or make any other personnel or operational decisions outside the scope of the superintendent.

The Independent will continue to follow this matter as it progresses.

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