DIAMOND CITY — The Diamond City City Council took action on several items when it met Tuesday night, including overriding mayoral vetoes on two ordinances and one resolution.
Council members Charles Grimes, Cristy Olcott and Greg Wilson were present Tuesday night, while Don Bennett and Cheryl Guthrie were absent. Mayor Linda Miracle was also absent and recorder Tina Jackson oversaw the meeting. Sharlene Hudson filled in for Jackson as recorder. Victoria French was elected to the council to replace Rick Van Dyke, who resigned earlier this year, and Keshia Bell was appointed the new treasurer to replace interim treasurer Jane Henderson, who also resigned.
At the council’s May 28 meeting, the council adopted a resolution to allow Jackson access to the Security Room in the Community Center. Minutes from that meeting indicate that Miracle denied Jackson an access code after the meeting and that city attorney Steven Grady said the mayor planned to veto the resolution, which she did on June 5.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, Olcott said that a veto of an ordinance or resolution must be done for a reason, which wasn’t provided.
Olcott said she understood that Miracle is new to the job and still learning, but she moved to override that resolution. The council unanimously passed that motion.
The mayor had also vetoed two ordinances, one for the organization of the city, which is normally passed in January each year, and one establishing procedures for purchases.
Hudson told the council that Miracle had left a note in the recorder’s inbox stating the reason for the veto was that the mayor felt the ordinances need to be discussed further.
Olcott said the organization ordinance had been talked about for months and revised several times. The council voted unanimously to override the mayor’s veto of that ordinance.
The council also overrode the mayor’s veto of the purchasing procedures ordinance with no discussion.
No department heads were available that night to give monthly reports.
The council also voted to reinstate members of the Community Center Board, which meeting minutes indicate Miracle had disbanded earlier this year.
Olcott said the override of the mayor’s veto of the organizational ordinance re-established that board. She suggested that board members call a special meeting as soon as possible.
Both French and Grimes were members of that board. Grimes said it would be improper for two council members to be on the board and offered to resign from the board, but French said she wanted Grimes to remain and she would resign from the board.
The council also voted to remove Alderman Don Bennett and install Olcott and Grimes with check signing privileges on city bank accounts.
Before the council moved on to old business, Hudson asked why there was no monthly report from the sewer improvement district, or SID. Stephanie Martin, who had also been a candidate for city treasurer, was hired in April to be clerk for the SID.
Hudson told the council she submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for all SID records from Jan. 1 through June 15.
“I have yet for the city to fulfill that,” Hudson said.
But she said she had received some SID bank statements that indicate about $3,400 has been removed from the SID account.
“This is concerning,” she said. “It’s being transferred into a bank account.”
When she questioned the transfer, Hudson said, Martin told her the money was being used to pay the phone and water bills, as well as her salary. That, she said, is contrary to the city’s resolution requiring SID funds to be used for repairing or improving sewer lines and lift stations.
Hudson was told the mayor would be the one to ask about an SID report.
Olcott, who had earlier said she would contact the CPA handling city finance, was asked if the CPA had access to the SID account.
“Don’t know,” Olcott answered. “Ask Linda.”
She went on to say that the mayor won’t take her phone calls and makes her leave the Water Department when she makes an FOIA request.
“She will not talk to me about any city business at all,” Olcott said.
The council and some members of the crowd held a lengthy discussion of the mayor’s performance and how to handle the office moving forward. In the weekend edition, we take a look at that discussion.