During the regular City of Corydon meeting hold on March 20, the council listened to local residents voice concerns over hiring former mayor Rodney Parham as the Water and Waste Water Operator when the job had not been advertised. The council decided to postpone approving the one-year contract until speaking with Parham and advertising the position.
Mayor Dennis Moorman and City Clerk Ann Stevens met with Parham to discuss the position and possible contract time period revisions following the city council meeting. A special meeting was called on March 27, with those in attendance at the March 20 meeting being asked to attend the special meeting.
“I asked Ann to get this special meeting put together to work on this water situation and I asked her to contact everybody that was here at the last meeting,” Moorman began. “At the last meeting we looked at Rod’s contract and we decided to table it and see about offering the contract for just 30 days. I went down and talked to Rod and took Ann with me, and he said he wouldn’t do 30 days. He said he needed the 30 days notice because he is dealing with insurance with his business of towing cars. So I thought I had it made and was going to come back and talk tonight and see if I could get you to sign the contract and put the 30-days in there so we could cover the water deal.”
“I thought we had a plan, then yesterday I was up here (City Hall), and Rod came in and said he was going to pull his contract, he said I’m done,” Moorman continued. “So he is not interested now.”
“Brandon (Trower) is stepping up and has his Water I, and is going to get something going but, eventually we are going to start getting fines and Rod told us we have to be careful on those fines because those fines can be given personally to the council people,” said Moorman. “So I will throw that out.”
“I have a question, how many people does the city have to have to do this?” asked council member Nathan Bennett.
“We need two,” answered Moorman.
“So Monday is the ultimate due date,” council member Eric Jaeckel stated.
“I talked to Caleb Housh in Seymour and they have two guys that have Water II and Sewer II and he said it would be totally up to them and we would need to contact them to see if they would be interested,” said council member Kenny Holmes.
“Who does Allerton’s?” asked council member Stan Rupe.
“Adam Beavers,” answered Stevens.
“I do appreciate Brandon stepping up and putting his head on the chopping block,” said Moorman. “So that Resolution 2019-10 is out the door, and we have a situation now because we have to get one no matter what.”
“I filled out some government grant stuff and I haven’t heard back from the lady yet, but the state will pay for me to go to another class which starts April 2 and April 3 and then the next one is April 9 and 10 so it is coming right up,” said Trower. “Hopefully by those dates I will be back in class so I can get my Water II.”
“We still have to have backup for a couple years and I don’t know if that’s something where we can talk to Jack (Pershy) and ask hey will you be the backup?” Brandon said. “I have taken the Water II test twice now and missed it by one both times.”
“Jack wants to be done,” said Jaeckel. “So you’re going to these classes, and we have had a number of attempts and now we are in a very precarious place at this point. Are you feeling confident at this point?”
“I’m doing the best I can,” said Trower. “It’s not an easy test to pass.”
“I am not trying to belittle you in any way but we have had this come up in the past and we have gone down this path,” Jaeckel said.
“I don’t have any doubt that I can do it, I’m just being pulled in a couple directions at the moment,” Trower said. “I have full confidence I can get it done, the main part is having the time.”
“I’m speaking to you Rhonda (Bennett, Publisher of Times-Republican) and Dawn (Christian, Corydon resident), we have given the guys time to get their certification done did you know that?” asked Jaeckel.
“My issue was you didn’t let anybody see if they could give you someone else, it was just awarded to Rod,” said Christian.
“The reason for that is our intent was to provide opportunities for the city guys to go after that and to Brandon’s point he has taken the test a couple of times but we as the council have provided the foundation until the last minute and I feel because I was not here last week I feel that I am compelled to defend the city council as having integrity and having a plan to put forth for the city water and sewer process,” Jaeckel continued.
“It just didn’t look right, it looked like Rod was just awarded the job,” said Rhonda.
“Your perception is incorrect,” said Jaeckel.
“Our perception is reality and it is not just the two of us sitting here, there was some acknowledgement made that it wasn’t quite right,” said Christian.
“The group of us, and we rotate in and rotate out, but our intent is good to provide the best decisions we can for the city and I will go to bat for everyone of us including and especially Rod,” said Jaeckel. “There are so many good things the council have done the past years.”
“The thing that is really dangerous that brings the intensity to what I am telling you is the personal attack,” Jaeckel continued. “When anyone of us are done with our job I hope people at the table and not at the table say it was a good effort because that is what we are trying to do. And now we are in a position where we are vulnerable.”
“You make that sound like we have invited vulnerability,” said Christian. “This has been going on for a long time, this did not just happen to you last week, I did not create this. That is not how we got to today.”
“The situation that we are in right now where we are not prepared for April 1,” said Jaeckel. “We were prepared for April 1. The fact of the matter is we don’t have a contract.”
“I think if had been advertised whether it was with us or the Des Moines Register that would have helped tremendously,” said Rhonda. “It was never mentioned that it was advertised and I am not saying you have to advertise locally, you guys had good intent but for somebody looking in, it didn’t look that way.”
“I will say we did hear grumblings from the community and we did take that into consideration as well, and we were trying to find somebody else but we were not successful and then we were down to the wire and we felt like we were out of options to be honest with you,” said Nathan.
“I appreciate your intent to lay the foundation and to allow Rod to teach these guys,” said Christian.
“No the intent was to allow Brandon and Rick (Schmidt, former city employee) to get their certifications and Jack work with them,” said Jaeckel. “That was the intent.”
“I was supposed to have it done by April 1,” said Trower.
“If you weren’t sold on Rod then it still isn’t our burden to question the process,” said Christian.
“Ok then I make the motion to consider hiring Rod for one-year, I make that motion today,” said Jaeckel.
“He won’t do it, somebody else will have to talk to him, because he told me he is done,” said Moorman. “To my knowledge there was a never a position created for him. There is a reason he resigned as mayor, but I’m going to let him tell you that. I didn’t ask for this job but I am trying to do the best I can and I appreciate what the council does.”
“I appreciate that and this feels so much better than it did two years ago just to be in this room,” said Christian. “This is a completely different culture that you have created and I commend you for that.”
“Well thank you, we do the best we can,” said Moorman.
“It doesn’t hurt to ask and I didn’t talk to Adam himself but I did talk to his wife and he said he inquired about an upcoming position and he didn’t know that any decisions had been made one way or another on Rod or anybody else,” said Christian. “That’s where else it feels a little off, because you contacted all these people around but Adam Beavers never heard from you and it feels weird.”
“We knew of people that had it, but for certain reasons neither here or there by every person we didn’t think that was the right person for the job,” said Trower. “It wasn’t anything against any of them, it was from possibly talking to other communities.”
“My point is it wasn’t even out there,” said Christian.
“I don’t feel like we created this water inspection job for Rod,” said Moorman. “I kind of feel like we were using Rod as a stepping stone.”
“I think your intent was very good but you have to realize Joe Blow in the public doesn’t understand what you guys talk about and you come into a meeting and say, lets vote on this because you already had a discussion in a work session, so it gives it the appearance,” said Rhonda.
“The work sessions are public,” said Jaeckel.
“Most don’t know that,” said Christian.
“We have to look down the road and there’s certain things that get in the paper and it causes concern to some,” said Stevens.
“You have to realize the paper has to report what is said,” said Rhonda.
“I understand, but for those to think we were setting someone up for that position that is not what the intent was at all,” said Stevens.
“I just want to say if you have a question, come to the council meetings or give me a call and I’ll tell you if it isn’t a closed door personnel thing it is open to the public,” said Moorman.
“Personally I appreciate your input no matter what it is,” said Nathan. “This is the only time we hear the concerns. People see things on Facebook and they talk about it and it doesn’t mean anything.”
“It doesn’t help the situation,” said council member Amber Rodgers. “I’m new here but it is my impression everyone here is trying to do the best they can while also listening to the citizens. It is a delicate balance and a lot oft times this group is between a rock and a hard place which you know too. There aren’t easy decisions to be made.”
“I will say we have done, well Jen has done, an excellent job giving you good exposure on Facebook,” said Rhonda.
“Yes she has,” said Stevens, Rodgers and Nathan.
“She was kicking butt for us this winter,” said Trower.
“I like her basketball stories too,” said Rupe.
“We will need some input though on the salary and I have the ad now going in a couple of places,” said Stevens.
At the closing of the meeting, Moorman wanted it known with many persons having breathing issues and with spring now being here, the city is receiving calls, as well as himself receiving personal calls at home regarding burning leaves. Those with breathing issues are being told to call 9-1-1 to get the fires extinguished.
“I’ve got one more thing I also wanted to give you an update on, I’ve gone to all these meetings with I.T.C. over the power cable, we won,” said Moorman. “They worked with us and they are going to put it back where it was instead of moving them into the residential area.”
The next regular meeting for the City of Corydon council meeting will be held on Thursday, April 4 at 7 p.m.