WEBSTER COUNTY, KY (12/15/11) – Tempers that have been flaring for months among members of the Dixon City Commission reached a boiling point at the commission’s meeting Monday night as Dixon Mayor Linda Frederick and former commissioner David Frazier sparred verbally, leading Frederick to present a copy of Frazier’s criminal record. She read the record aloud during the meeting.
“This is what I’m dealing with for an hour and a half every night,” Frederick said as she held out the record for Frazier to take. She let the sheets of paper drop onto a table below the council table in the front of the room, and Frazier walked up from the back of the room to pick it up.
“You’re blackmailing me about a felony conviction?” he asked her as he handed it back.
“I’m not blackmailing you,” she said as she began to read specific charges listed from the document.
“That’s what, 30 years ago?” Frazier said when she finished. “Ya’ll went around showing that to people.”
Commissioner Terry Webb quickly interjected that he knew nothing about the criminal record prior to the meeting, and that he had nothing to do with Frederick presenting it in open session. Frazier then presented a letter of his own, but stopped before reading all of it to call his wife, Carolyn, whom he asked to come to the commission meeting immediately. Frazier then left the room and discussion about the city park, which had initiated the verbal exchange between Frederick and Frazier, continued.
Commissioners had been discussing the future of the Dixon Park Board, and even before the personal exchange started, Frederick and Frazier were already arguing about specific expenditures made and whether the grant money anticipated to pay for them would be applicable. In some cases, it wasn’t clear if the grant money had even been awarded yet. Frederick told the two commission members present — Webb and John Ramsey — that two park board members had resigned, and she asked the commissioners to also consider serving as chairman, since Frazier is no longer a member of the Dixon Commission. (Frazier was appointed to fill an unexpired term until an election could be held.) Frazier said he is still the chairman, and that he and the remaining members had offered to resign at a meeting of the park board where Frederick was apparently present. However, he said, Frederick had indicated she wouldn’t replace anyone on the park board, Frazier said at Monday’s meeting.
“I’m the one who said a commissioner should serve as chairman,” Frederick said.
Frazier asked the commission to review its minutes, saying he understood the motion approved at the time to assign him the role of park board chairman. Ramsey suggested a compromise between the two by proposing a revision to the ordinance that would add a sixth member to the park board. Earlier in the meeting, he had already proposed amending the ordinance to set all members terms to a period of two years so it would be easier to keep track of, rather than having staggered terms. After Frederick read the court record, however, Frazier said he would resign from the park board.
When Frazier left the room, Frederick turned to two members of the audience sitting in the very back of the room, John Roy and Donna Matheny, and asked them to talk about the contributions they made to the park before asking them if they wanted to serve on the park board. Both said yes.
At the end of the meeting, Frederick proposed Roy and Matheny be appointed to the park board, along with Pam Foster, Paul O’Nan, and Chad Smith. When the park ordinance is revised, the newly created sixth member position will be filled by a commissioner, the members informally agreed.
About ten minutes after Frazier left the room, his wife, Carolyn, came in and walked straight toward Frederick, screaming at her as she entered. “I have never been so embarrassed about an organization in my life,” Carolyn Frazier said as she turned to the rest of the commissioners. “I’m very sorry that the rest of ya’ll don’t feel the same way.” She then turned back to Frederick. “The library got $500 for kids,” she said. “Do you know who did that? David Frazier! Madam Mayor, how many things have you donated to?” She continued to point out things her husband has done for the community before turning her attention back to Frederick. “You were born with a silver spoon in your mouth... but he has worked his (expletive deleted) in this community,” she said, shouting at Frederick.
For several months, Frederick has battled with the Frazier’s over payments of sewer bills, claiming that her house cannot tap onto the city sewer system and that because of that, she and her husband, Jimmy Frederick, are exempted from paying. However, others within the city limits, including the Frazier’s, pay for sewer even though they can’t hook onto the system. At Monday’s meeting, Dixon City Clerk Peggy Poole presented a report of all the homes affected by the sewer issue, and told the commission that a state plumbing inspector had recently conducted an audit of Dixon’s water and sewer records.
According to her report, the city of Dixon published a notice in 1997 stating that anyone who refused to pay the sewer portion of their bill could have their water disconnected. The report also stated that as a result of the permit audit inspection, Poole faxed a request to the county treasurer’s office requesting information on written exemptions on file. She said the treasurer’s office told her only one such exemption is on file there, from Joyce Nall. However, Poole’s report also included a list of residences where customers don’t pay sewer bills because they have claimed exemptions within the city. The list includes 41 different properties, some of which are private homes while others are public buildings, such as Webster County Emergency Management and the Webster County School District bus garage. A third list identifies 20 additional properties that aren’t connected to the city sewer system but are paying the bill. Poole said there is one resident who doesn’t have city water or sewer, and she provided an attorney general’s opinion regarding that issue for further review by the commission.
Carolyn Frazier, as she shouted at Frederick, referenced the issue of sewer bills. “You’ve been stealing from this county,” Carolyn Frazier said. “You ain’t paid a sewer bill in 10 years! We’re asking for the same benefit you have. If it’s not against the law, can I get it?”
Frazier said she and her husband have two properties that can’t connect to the sewer system but that they pay the bill before turning to Jimmy Frederick and others sitting in the audience. She questioned the others in turn about whether they live in the city. All of them, including Roy and Matheny, said they don’t.
“What are you all here for?” she asked, but quickly turned back to Frederick. “I don’t care, you can save your $35 a month,” she continued. “Take that under advisement. If it’s not against the law, then I want the same privilege.”
Jimmy Frederick stood up, saying, “I’m out. All of this came from Peggy (Poole) to start with.” Poole quickly spoke up, saying she had nothing to do with the issue.
“It was brought to my attention,” she said. “I took it off twice for you in the first place.” Jimmy Frederick didn’t respond to Poole. Carolyn Frazier again turned attention to the mayor’s reading of David Frazier’s past record. “Why is it any of ya’ll’s business?” she asked Frederick. “He has paid for everything according to what the law, the law that you’re always quoting, so strongly said he had to do.”
Mayor Frederick said she brought it up because David Frazier verbally attacked her, and that she had had phone calls from citizens complaining about Frazier’s involvement with the parks due to his past. Carolyn Frazier asked Frederick to name people who had called her, but Frederick said she wouldn’t do that. “Bull...(expletive deleted),” Frazier said in response.
Jimmy Frederick then suggested his wife move on with the meeting, which prompted more anger from Carolyn Frazier. “Why don’t you get up in that seat?” she said to Jimmy Frederick as she walked past him to leave the building. “Everyone knows you run the place!” Linda Frederick turned to David Frazier at almost the same time and answered his wife’s question about what contributions she had made by saying that the reason he didn’t know of her contributions and the work she had done for the community was because he wasn’t in Dixon then.
“I will say this much to you. When we were working and donating... you don’t know anything about it because you were in jail,” she said to him. “Why is this an issue now?” Frazier asked Frederick, to which she stated Frazier attacked her verbally and that she decided to present his past record because of the way he spoke to her. “So it’s a revenge thing,” he said. The argument continued for a few more minutes before Webb intervened. “I didn’t come here for this,” he said.
Frazier left the building, and the commission’s attention again turned to Poole, who presented information about clerks’ salaries in Webster County. In a written statement included with the information, Poole said she had been approached by citizens regarding her pay, and that some in the city had told her they had heard the commission was planning to fire her and other city employees because of how much they make for the amount of work they do. At last month’s Dixon Commission meeting, David Frazier made a similar accusation aimed at Frederick, alleging that firing Poole and Dixon Water Operator Larry Parrish was an objective she had in mind. He expressed concern that the city’s two new commissioners might support her goal, and asked her to reconsider. During Monday’s meeting, Ramsey told Poole to disregard such rumors, that the commission had no intentions of firing anyone.
“You know how rumors are,” Ramsey said to Poole. Poole said she understood, and the commission then approved the list of park board members before adjourning. Also during the meeting, commissioners decided against issuing annual Christmas bonuses to city employees after Frederick told them an online article published by a Marshall County news website had reported that the state auditor instructed Marshall County Fiscal Court to stop the practice because it was apparently illegal. The report, published on Dec. 18 at www.marshallcountydaily.com, quoted Marshall County Judge-Executive Mike Miller as saying, “I have personally spoken with State Auditor Crit Luallen this morning and she has assured me we have not broken the law.”
The article explained that the auditor in the prepared audit recommended “that the court dismiss the practice of giving any sort of incentive pay without the court’s approval of a salary schedule” after discovering a bonus that wasn’t included in the anticipated pay.
Portions of the audit report were quoted in the article as well, including the statement: “The Fiscal Court did not approve a salary order, so salaries were never set for employees. The audit recommends the Fiscal Court discontinue the practice of Christmas bonuses in order to be in compliance with the Department of Local Government’s Budget manual and Section 3, of the Kentucky Constitution.”
At Monday’s meeting, Dixon commissioners also:
•approved the purchase and installation of two “children-at-play” signs on Lakeview Drive;
•agreed to prepare an intergovernmental contract with Webster County for snow removal;
•discussed plans for ongoing work at the city’s parks;
•reviewed the city’s nuisance ordinance;
•discussed setting up a five-year planning approach for managing the city’s budget;
•authorized creation of a policy regarding city payments for fuel bills after discussing concerns about delays in receiving local receipts;
•authorized a written policy be prepared concerning water leaks; and
•heard a report from Rod Martin regarding a $225,000 grant for replacement of water lines along U.S. Hwy. 41-A. Martin suggested the commission either design a plan that allows the city to match funds, or redesign the project to only use the grant money. Ramsey asked if the project could be completed in two phases, but the commission didn’t take action on the report.
The Dixon City Commission meets again on Monday, Jan. 9.
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