FERRELVIEW, Mo. — In what was a rather heated meeting at times, the chairperson, a trustee and the treasurer for the Village of Ferrelview were asked to resign by members of the community on Tuesday, March 13.
Chairperson Theresa Wilson, trustee Russell Wilson and treasurer Mickey Vulgamott were asked to resign during various points of the meeting and all quickly dismissed the suggestions.
Wilson was guiding the meeting for the first time since a warrant was issued for her arrest following an incident in November when she allegedly shoved a pregnant woman.
Resident Bart Whorton brought a copy of The Citizen where Wilson’s mugshot appeared to the meeting and during the audience portion of the meeting voiced his displeasure of how she is representing the town in the eyes of others in Platte County.
“In the light of you generating enough evidence to have an indictment and charges filed against you,” Whorton said, while holding the issue with Wilson in her tie-dyed ‘Chillin’ t-shirt, “You assaulted a member of this community and the fact you have not paid your water bill for two months after you send people to shut water off on Sunday for a little old lady and her granddaughter, you need to resign. You are a disgrace. Your conduct in this village has violated every single law you have been entrusted to enforce and conduct yourself within. You are a disgrace.”
Whorton then, pointing to trustee Russell Wilson, Theresa’s husband, said he needed to resign as well.
“I will not resign,” Theresa Wilson said. “I’ll sit in the chair for an entire another year.”
The issue with Vulgamott came about during a discussion about files taken out of the office of Patsy Murray, the city clerk.
Murray is the custodian of records for the village, but there was apparently some confusion on what that meant.
Trustee Deidre Carr brought up the issue after hearing from Murray that files were missing from her office.
“I gave them back to her,” Vulgamott said. “I borrowed them last night (Monday, March 12) and I handed them to you this afternoon (March 13). I had it one night. I don’t want to sit in there. I have plenty of room to work.”
Then, things got a bit heated — the theme of the night — when trustee Phil Gilliam asked a question.
“Are we maintaining a chain of command?” Gilliam said.
Vulgamott responded, “She doesn’t have custody.”
Gilliam stated that as the city clerk Murray is the custodian of records and should be notified when records are accessed. Vulgamott disagreed.
“You can think I’m wrong all you want, but at the end of the day, wouldn’t it make sense if I take a record from one place and move it to record some form of document to cover those records?” Gilliam questioned. “By me saying we need to do it, it’s just another level. We are being accountable.”
“They weren’t her records, they were the treasurer’s records,” Vulgamott said. “Why is the city clerk stirring up a big thing because she knew I moved them? Why is she stirring it up? All you had to do was asked me (looking at Murray) and you didn’t.”
The exchange between Gilliam and Vulgamott continued with him asking her if she serves at the pleasure of the board.
“Yes,” she replied. “Then, fire me.”
Vulgamott suggested the board talk to state audit manager Todd Schuler about the ‘chain of command’ suggestion, at which point a member of the audience yelled she could resign, which was met with a quick ‘not a chance.’
Police who can’t police
A large discussion was started by Carr, the emergency management/health officer regarding crimes happening in the village.
Some townhomes in the village are being remodeled and with left over construction supplies on the site, an issue has cropped up with juveniles damaging things.
Carr also brought up issues with speeding, partying until the early morning hours and marijuana usage.
“The safety for our village has gotten terrible,” Carr said. “Everyone knows we have no police. The kids have gotten out of control.”
Kevin LaBranche was appointed as the interim police chief in January, filling in for the suspended Daniel Clayton. Despite that, the village is still relying heavily on assistance from the Platte County Sheriff’s Office.
LaBranche, despite his title, can’t issue tickets or summonses since there isn’t anything set up with the county to do so. Essentially, the village has an interim police chief who can’t write speeding tickets or issue a summons for shoplifting from the gas station.
“What are we paying you to do?” Carr asked.
“You are paying another chief who is suspended,” LaBranche answered.
LaBranche noted most of his duties are administrative work, entering lost or stolen articles.
There was a contentious moment between Carr and LaBranche during that exchange following her question.
“Since filling in for Clayton you have done nothing but spread malicious rumors about a board member and I will discuss that after the meeting,” Carr said. “You are supposed to hold yourself in a professional manner and haven’t done that whatsoever.”
Vulgamott gave an update on the process with the state auditor and touched on some financial constraints the city faces.
She said there is about $35,000 in a CD, which is enough to cover deposits if the village has to give them back to every resident in the village.
“If we had a water main break, I don’t know where we could get the money from,” she said.
Russell Wilson, the village’s water commissioner, said something would have to be figured out in case of such a disaster. One suggestion from the auditor was to add to the rates that would help a long-range plan, such as replacing aging water lines.
Vulgamott shared a few of the suggestions from the state auditor, one of which is separating the duties of processing water payments. Currently one person takes the payment, posts it and makes the deposits.
Others suggestions included making no adjustments without board approval, no shutoff without board approval and taking an inventory of the village’s assets.
During the February meeting, Vulgamott inquired about holidays for full- or part-time employees while working with the state auditor.
Despite the village currently not having a single full-time employee, a 14 minute discussion took place to lay ground work for when there is one in town — the last one was Clayton.
The Department of Labor considers full-time between 30 and 40 hours a week. Theresa Wilson said every full-time job she has had was 40 hours. Discussions between Gilliam and Russell Wilson led to a discussion of 35 hours, while Carr suggested full-time being 32 hours.
There are currently 11 state/federal holidays, but Theresa Wilson noted the village has never paid for Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day.
A motion was passed to purchase four posts to install street signs. The city needs to install no parking and tow away zone signs.
Gilliam made a motion to use $100 to purchase a flag for city hall. LaBranche noted the city can apply online to purchase flags flown over the capital for $35 through Congressman Sam Graves. Gilliam suggest buying two of them.
Russell Wilson inquired about the cost of stamps and the office supply expenses that don’t currently have any board oversight. The village has been sending out receipts — which are made after each transition at the recommendation of the village’s state auditor — after water bills are paid instead of sending it with the next bill, which saw a hike in the amount of postage. “I think it needs to be looked at,” Russell Wilson said. “Let’s look at it; the auditor wants us to look at things.”
A resident raised concerns about an influx of raccoons in the village and said the increase has been because other village residents are leaving cat food outside. He said his dog got into a battle with one and that led to a $200 vet bill. Frank Baumann said the original issue happened four or five years ago and when raccoons appeared again he called the PCSO, which dispatched its animal control officer. “My dog got a rabies shot, those kids don’t,” Baumann said. “If you hear my Glock go off at midnight, you will know why. It is a matter of public safety. If is in my yard, I will dispatch it.” He noted the animal control officer advised him if he does that, to let him know so the animal could be retrieved.
Theresa Wilson asked the board about waiving permit and building fees for the Johnson family to install a wheelchair ramp at a residence in the village for Jayden Shafer, a 10-year-old shot in January in the mobile park home. The board approved the waiver.
Trustee Melvin Rhodes wasn’t present when the meeting started at 6:04 p.m. and after two minutes of waiting, Theresa Wilson called Rhodes on her cell phone to see if he would be arriving. He was not present for the meeting.
Russell Wilson noted the village’s water rates will be increasing soon, likely a six cent jump per 1,000 gallons.