By Sue Moore
Village Manager Jim Mallery, disclosing a litany of unpaid bills, bounced checks and overdrafts at the November Council meeting, asked the Council to fire Clerk Teresa Paddock. The Council did so.
Although such actions are often taken after closed-door meetings, permitted under the state’s Open Meetings Act, Paddock chose to air the issue and her objections to being fired at the public meeting.
Mallery said his recommendation was based on information from banks and businesses calling to question the financial capability of the village.
The manager said the failure to notify managers of the difficulties was what was most disturbing. Citing his lack of trust in Paddock’s ability, he asked the Council to fire her immediately.
Paddock, hired in July, 2015, acknowledged the problems but indicated her performance was due to lack of adequate training and staffing. Those who follow her in the job, may fail if these issues are not addressed, she said.
In a review of his four years as village president, Bill Adams read from a prepared statement of the ups and down and his plans to focus on making Vicksburg the “best of the best” villages in America. His comments are posted on the village’s web site.
He said he expects the annual audit report for the 2016-2017 fiscal year to be presented at the December 19 village council meeting. “We anticipate it will indicate a number of opportunities for improvement. We believe that citizens will realize that the Village has taken action to implement each of the auditor’s recommendations,” Adams said. The fiscal year examined by the village’s auditing firm ended June 30 and is expected to include transactions handled by the ousted clerk. Adams did not allude to the problems in his statement.
“Our ultimate goal is to have a good clear picture of our financial health and a financial strategy for the Village of Vicksburg that incorporates both the short and long term vision we have for our Village,” he said. “I look forward to presenting this financial strategy to you sometime next year. I believe that it will take three to five months to revamp important policies and procedures that will ensure that we incorporate all of the recommendations that we have received.” Adams said.
New Council Member Seated for Four-Year Term
Sworn in to new terms on the Village Council were Tim Frisbie, newly elected council member, Gail Reisterer, who had been appointed last spring and was elected to a full term Nov. 8, and Colin Bailey and Adams who were re-elected. County Clerk Tim Snow did the honors but was somewhat red-faced; he had previously certified another council candidate, Chris Newman, via a letter announcing he had won a council seat. Newman was defeated in the election.
Noise Complaints Were Brought Up by Residents
Two village residents were concerned about noise in the Leja Industrial Park, which they attributed to a business located on the south side of the park. Ron Wallace, a V Avenue resident, said he heard the noise of blowers as early as 6 a.m. apparently from the business a quarter mile away. It is a growing annoyance he said. Nancy McKenzie, who lives on Scott Street, said the noise is like that from a snow or leaf blower in her back yard even with the windows closed. The village manager promised to set up a meeting with the owners of the company, the planning commission chair and residents to see what kind of solution could be worked out.
Hazardous Waste Agreement Needed Additional Funding
Village residents have been taking advantage of the county’s household hazardous waste facility, free to residents because the village covers the cost. It had budgeted $650 for 2016, but has proven so popular another $100 was added for December expenses.
Fire Authority Fee Increase
The Fire Authority has billed the village $112,500 for services in the 2017-18 fiscal year. While it’s an increase from the current year, the village had anticipated an even higher charge in its budget for next year. Adams said he viewed the unexpected change as a decrease. Tracy McMillan, fire chief, announced that the 60 calls per month on average were now in the 80 to 90 range. He didn’t know what to attribute this to, but said it is keeping the volunteers busy.