Chaffee City Council calls special meeting

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A special meeting of the Chaffee City Council tonight will focus on personnel.

Though city officials technically could close the meeting, Mayor Loretta Mohorc said there's "no way" she wants that to happen.

In February, she was confronted in a closed meeting during which several members of the council tried but failed to impeach her.

On Wednesday, Eric Hicks, the city's director of public works, said he thinks those same members of the council will attempt to fire him and other city officials.

"My head's on the chopping block," he said, attributing his fear to the recent repair to a drainage ditch, damaged when a homeowner installed a swimming pool. He said the home-owner complained about the public works' repair job at a recent city council meeting.

"As far as I know, we don't have a chopping block," said Councilwoman Debra Eichhorn. She said the swimming pool issue was resolved, and that the special council meeting would focus on the city's personnel handbook. "It's an open meeting. Anybody can be there."

Councilman Tom Cunningham said defining job descriptions is a priority but that council members would also discuss purchasing a piece of property.

Mohorc said she was upset when, at the council's last meeting, the board refused to approve her appointee, Samantha Simmons, to fill a vacancy created when Councilman Bill Dysinger abruptly resigned. He was unopposed in the March election. Instead, Councilman Ron Moyers suggested appointing Ryan Pennington. Dysinger's seat remains empty.

Eichhorn said relationships between council members and the mayor have not degenerated to the degree they reached in February.

"We are [getting along], but that doesn't mean we have to agree with everything the mayor wants," she said.

Councilmen Ron Moyers, Jack Nordin and Jack Simpson did not respond to calls for comment. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. today at Chaffee City Hall, 222 W. Yoakum Ave.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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