MIDDLEPORT — Middleport Village Council members on Tuesday rejected the mayor’s request for reconsideration of Teri Hockman as the third member of the Board of Public Affairs.
At the previous meeting, Mayor Mike Gerlach said that Hockman is a former Middlport fiscal officer and said this would work to her advantage in the position.
Council Member Dick Vaughan told the mayor he would again vote no on the subject because he didn’t approve of how the mayor made the appointment without consulting council first. He told the mayor he also hadn’t heard about Joe Woodall being hired as the water and wastewater superintendent until he read it in the local paper. Gerlach, in a phone interview, said that Woodall has held the position for a month. During the meeting, Gerlach said Woodall had been introduced at a meeting in which council was not present, but village residents were.
Regarding Hockman, Gerlach said he handled the situation correctly.
“The rules say I appoint someone and bring them in here,” Gerlach said. “If you have something against Teri Hockman, say so.”
Vaughan responded by saying, “I already told you what I think. It don’t make a difference.”
Council Member Emerson Heighton made the motion. Penny Burge seconded. Both members voted yes on the issue, with Vaughan, Roger Manley and Sharon Older voting no. Manley said he voted no for the same reasons, and also said he didn’t know Woodall had been given a five-year contract. Doug Dixon was absent. Fiscal Officer Sue Baker was also not present.
Resident Fred Hoffman spoke to council about sewer issues near his residence. His main concerns were that sediment was not blocking pipes, and that the village look into one of the River Check Valves, or a valve that pours rain water into the river during flooding and will close off river water from coming into the village during flooding, Gerlach said.
The mayor said that the village had found some partial sediment blockage that had already been taken care of, as per local EPA employee Fred Snell, and that the check valve in question, which had some partial damage around the rim, would be replaced, with no official timeline in place yet. He added that sediment issue mentioned by Hoffman had already been taken care of.
During the meeting, Hoffman said he wanted action taken as soon as possible.
“In closing, I would like to remind the village that they are legally responsible for health problems or damage caused by raw sewage going into peoples’ homes, especially if no action is taken on addressing serious problems which are brought to their attention, problems that can be corrected,” Hoffman read from his papers.
Council unanimously voted to invite Snell to come down and meet with council regarding these issues.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.
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