Durbin Council squabbles over Durbin Days

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

At the April 14 Durbin Town Council meeting, councilmembers found themselves at odds when discussing the Durbin Days Heritage Festival and its coordinator.

Mayor Danielle Findley explained that the Durbin Days committee hired Judy Fuller as coordinator. She added that Fuller was not at the council meeting because she did not have new information for an update.

Councilmember Mike Vance said he did not recall council giving permission to the committee to hire a coordinator.

“You just explained to me that you all hired her,” Vance said. “That was not the motion by the council. It was supposed to be a recommendation brought back to the council to hire her. That’s what the minutes say, too.”

Findley said she did not remember the motion including the recommendation, and the committee acted swiftly because a coordinator was needed.

“Once we had to scramble, at that next meeting when the committee got together there was a discussion amongst the committee about whether or not we wanted to put it out to advertise it, and the committee did not feel there was enough time to get it in the paper, let it run for a week or two, get everybody back together to look over applications, so the committee made that judgement,” Findley said.

Findley added that she didn’t think it was necessary for the committee to be governed by council.

“From what I can tell the committee isn’t a town council thing necessarily,” she said. “This is a group of citizens that agreed to get together on their volunteer time to help organize a festival for the entire community. I think we will be cutting off our nose to spite our face if we choose to micro manage the committee or to try to govern it in some way.”

Vance explained that the reason council has to be in charge of any decision made regarding the festival is because council is held liable.

“We do have a little bit more in it because it’s our liability insurance that’s coming out on this thing,” he said. “Everything looks good with what I’ve seen. I don’t have a problem with it. It just needs to be brought before the council so we know what was done. I’m not objecting to Judy. It just needs to be the way the minutes said and the motion said.”

The matter of coordinator was put to a vote and council approved to hire Judy Fuller.

Before moving on, Vance had another question regarding Durbin Days.

“I was told that all the records for Durbin Days left this office,” he said.

Findley said she gave Fuller permission to take the files home in order for her to organize the 2015 festival. Findley said that every time Fuller needed information, there wasn’t anyone at the town hall to let her in to view the files.

Because of Fuller’s busy schedule which conflicts with town hall hours, Findley said she gave Fuller the files to take home – an action she did not think would cause an issue.

“I meant what I said when I defended myself about letting the files leave,” she said. “I’m new to this, maybe I shouldn’t have, but I was never once, by any person in this room or anybody out in the court of judgement in the streets, given the opportunity to say I might have really screwed up and I’m sorry.”

Council agreed that the files should not have left the office and because Fuller needs the files, it approved to give her a key to the town office in order for her to use the facility for Durbin Days purposes.

Durbin Library to have grand opening

Pocahontas County Free Libraries representative Jason Bauserman addressed council concerning the new Durbin Public Library.

The library will have its grand opening Sunday, June 7, from 2 to 7 p.m. and part of the celebration will include information on the history of Durbin.

“[Librarian] Nancy Egan did ask me to be in charge of three historical booths that we’re going to have right inside for people to come in and look at, and talk about,” Bauserman said. “Bill McNeel is going to talk about the trains. Terry Hackney is going to have a setup on the Staunton-Parkersburg turnpike, and then I’d like to have a booth on the history of the town of Durbin.”

Bauserman asked councils permission to use several items at the opening that are owned by the town.

“There’s an old Underwood typewriter in the jailhouse,” he said. “It’s pretty rusty and in fact, it doesn’t even move anymore. That kind of took them to a new generation when they were typing. To go along with that – I’ve been looking through the minutes here and all of a sudden the minutes were being typewritten. I was hoping to have that book available with the typewriter to show when they started going more modern.”

Bauserman also found an electric leak detector/locator in the jailhouse that he wants to use in the display.

“The Tannery did produce electricity,” he explained. “They sold a bunch to the town of Durbin and then Durbin resold it to its residents. I thought that was most interesting to bring up that aspect of history.”

Along with the items from the jailhouse, Bauserman asked to use the book containing the town charter and three receipt books from the Kerr and Wilmoth Store.

Council approved Bauserman’s request to use the items.

In other action:

• Council approved Jason Bauserman’s application to restore the jailhouse.

• Recorder Jeremy Bauserman said poll worker training will be May 11.

Durbin Town Council meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the town office.

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