Mayor conducts last council meeting
Mayor Mary Ann Fraley presided over her last city council meeting last week, going out with a bang, not a whimper.
“We’re going to get $11 million for a new wastewater treatment plant and our firefighters are finally going to get a brand new fire truck. I couldn’t be more pleased,” she added, “it’s a relief to be going out on these high notes.”
The evening began as many of the meetings during the last few months have with local residents Kevin Marks and Joyce Cummings giving voice to their frustrations with the mayor and city attorney Jana McGill regarding how the city’s business has been conducted.
Mr Marks gave the council copies of a planned initiative to repeal the city’s zoning ordinance and questioned the validity of the city attorney’s current contract with the city.
Ms Cummings presented a letter she had received from the McGill Law Office demanding Ms Cummings cease and desist making false allegations of official misconduct on the part of the city attorney.
Ms McGill had warned Ms Cummings in past council meetings and private meetings of the consequences of making unsubstantiated statements.
“In October you were cautioned not to make allegations of criminal behavior if you lacked sufficient information to back up those allegations. It appears that you did not take those cautionary words to heart. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences,” Ms McGill wrote, “If you continue to engage in the egregious behavior of making false allegations about me and that I have committed official misconduct and other violations of Montana state law in performing the duties of city attorney, I will file legal proceedings against you.”
Ms Cummings told Ms McGill and the council that she felt she was being threatened.
“It’s intimidation again to keep me from having a voice in government,” she said, “I talked to the Governor. I have every right. We will have more eyes on the council.”
Local businessman, Dwight O’Hara followed Ms Cummings in addressing the council.
“I’ve been going over the latest budget and see that more than $100,000 has been spent on auditing,” he said, “In 2009 and 2010 there are reconciliations that are not listed for several bank accounts. The city staff doesn’t have a sufficient knowledge of accounting. City Hall records are so bad we have a negative $83,000 in cash. We don’t know where the money’s coming from. We stand to lose $11 million for the sewer project. We’ve been told we have a million dollars hiding to take care of this stuff, but our records don’t tell us. We need to spend money on training staff.”
Following the blistering public comments the council continued with its regular agenda items.
City Recreations Director Frank Spring noted the success of...
Help the aged
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The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) of Montana is calling on all people to remain vigilant at this time of year, especially when it comes to taking care of those more advanced in years:
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“Now is the time to be a good neighbor by checking in on your elderly neighbors to make sure they are coping well,” said Joy Bruck, AARP Montana State President in a release received by this newspaper last week.
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There was something for everyone, especially in Deer Lodge, throughout the course of the entire weekend, kicking off on Friday night and concluding when the sun set on Sunday afternoon.
Youngsters, too, would have the opportunity to meet jolly old Saint Nick, as he made a number of ‘guest’ appearances in town over the three day period.
Despite the freezing temperatures, families shunned the delights of central heating and wood fires to make the annual pilgrimage to Main Street for the Christmas stroll and lighting of the town’s tree on Saturday.
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