Pomeroy council hears grievances, discusses financial needs

By Lindsay Kriz

June 10, 2014

POMEROY — The Pomeroy Village Council met Tuesday evening to discuss village public issues. After the invocation, Pledge of Allegiance and approval of minutes, Crystal Parker, a resident of Meigs County, spoke about her petition of 180 signatures against the Pomeroy Police Department. She delivered the petition meant for the mayor, village officials and Pomeroy Police Chief Mark Proffitt.

Parker’s petition meant to “stop the constant harassment in our town with the Pomeroy police, stop the fear of driving into Pomeroy to shop in businesses.” Parker said the Pomeroy Police Department was guilty of unnecessary traffic stops and searches, speed traps, false accusations, untrue laws, entrapment of drinking establishments, tailgating and ticketing for petty reasons.

Tracy Connelly also voiced concerns over unfair ticketing near her shop area. She and Parker also told the council that they had a grievance against Proffitt for allegedly using foul language about both women in a telephone conversation.

Connelly echoed Parker’s grievance that Pomeroy police were pulling people over for “ridiculous” reasons. Her son told the council that he had been pulled over at least 25 times since July 2013 for reasons including lack of turn signal, but had never received a ticket during any of those stops.

“Every time we pull someone over, it’s recorded,” Proffitt told Connelly. “It’s public record.” He stated that if her son had truly been pulled over 25 times they would be able to find that informtion publicly. However, in a later telephone interview, Proffitt said he ran a Signal 7 in Highway Patrol to pull up an audit, and he found no information on 25 traffic stops.

“The Pomeroy Police Department is here to protect and serve the public,” he said. “We’re here to apprehend the bad guys. We’re here to take the drunks off the roadways. We’re here to do whatever possible to help and serve the community. We do not allow politics do get in the way of doing our job.”

Proffitt said that all city audience members involved with the grievance against the Pomeroy Police Department are connected by family or live-in boyfriends or girlfriends, and all members want the Pomeroy Police Department to be involved in politics.

“We cannot,” he said. “We have to do whatever falls within the line of the law. We’re not going to violate anybody’s civil liberties, and we’re not going to play favoritisms. Our records are always open to the public as far as our log.”

Wiley “Buster” Phelps told the council about ditches near his property that still must be fixed.

“It’s 50 percent worse now than it was the last time I was down here,” he said.

Mayor Jackie Welker told Phelps that the council applied for a grant to help the problem but did not receive it. The council told Phelps they would come by his property and look into the issue.

Sandra “Pebbles” Thorla spoke about being laid off and not being hired back or receiving her sick time after working for the village of Pomeroy for 20.5 years when two other men had been paid their sick time.

Proffitt said that Thorla knew why she was not hired back, to which she replied that she knew it was because she’d been fired twice and suspended a third time.

Proffitt replied, “Pebbles, you just answered your own question.”

The council determined that the other men who were paid sick time should not legally have been paid, and that it was a fault in the system, but that they could not simply pay Thorla for sick time without breaking the law.

Lastly, Don May discussed a patch of road on Lincoln Heights that desperately needs improvement, and said that the village needed to spend taxpayer money for good repairs.

“We’re spending all this money for crap, is what we’re doing,” he said.

After the public had their say, Paul Hellman, village administrator, discussed estimates for Pleasant Ridge slips in order to repair a crumbling road. According to Hellman, J.R. Contracting offered $28,000 without paving on the first area and $128,000 without paving on the second area. He said paving would add another $5,000, and that Steve Pulling gave a similar estimate. Proffitt brought up a need for a new color printer to the council, and said he hoped to get a Xerox Color Printer for about $2,500, which is $300 less than competitor Lexmark’s option.

The meeting ended with an open discussion, approal of bills and an adjournment. The next open Pomeroy Village Council meeting is June 23.