Misplaced letters halt Durbin Council action

Less than an hour after closing the special meeting August 5, Durbin Town Council located paperwork pertinent to the business which was set to take place at the special meeting.

The special meeting was scheduled in order for council to appoint a new mayor and recorder to replace Donald Peck and Danielle Findley, respectively, who both resigned at the July meeting.

Findley, as recorder, held her resignation until the August meeting in order to be acting mayor for the month of July. She intended to resign because she planned to move out of town. The council approved her resignation under the stipulation that she submit a written letter of resignation at the special meeting.

Findley did not submit a resignation because her plans to move out of Durbin changed. Despite that, council operated under the guise that Findley had resigned and the position was to be filled.

The meeting was opened by Findley, who continued to act as mayor until council named councilmember Mike Vance as chairperson.

The issue at hand – appointing a mayor and recorder – was halted when Findley revealed that the letters of intent, which had been placed in the town safe, were missing.

“I came in today and went straight to the safe to pull the letters so that they would be on the table and the letters are gone,” Findley said. “The five letters that I had in my hand that night [July 30], I clipped together with a binder clip and I laid them in the safe that Donald [Peck] opened for me. I have not touched the letters since. To the best of my knowledge, there are only three people with a combination to the safe.”

When Findley saw that the letters were missing, she concluded that the letters were stolen or removed on purpose. She said she has been attacked by town residents for mistakes that have been made in the past and feels the letters were taken as a way to sabotage the council.

“This looks a whole lot like sabotage to me, and I’m not about to accuse anyone because I do not know,” she said. “I will only speak to myself. I placed the letters in the safe. I did not touch them after that. I did not come down and check and make sure they were being safely kept because I didn’t find that that was necessary.”

Findley added that the posting for the position was also removed from the bulletin board at Kinder’s, which is illegal because it is a government document.

“My feelings are a little hurt and I’m extremely offended because somebody tore down the posting at Kinder’s, which I’ll just go ahead and tell you in case it was anybody in this room or in case you know who it was, it was juvenile,” Findley said. “That’s the bottom line. The last time I checked, we’re all grownups here. Now some of you, it’s debatable, maybe, but in my opinion, when I look around the room, I see a bunch of full grown bodies.”

Findley continued by saying the council needs to take a look at itself before it appoints a new mayor and recorder.

“I would recommend every single one of you reading your municipal handbook again,” she said. “I read it again this past week and there’s all kinds of stuff in there about what you can’t do when you leave a meeting. We all know for a fact that it’s happening because we see it. We have a town to run and one person cannot do it and people who are motived by evil, they can’t do it either. I recommend you check yourself and why you’re even sitting here because if it’s for that twenty-five dollars a month, you need it way more than I do.”

Taking control of the meeting, chairperson Vance also addressed the missing letters, saying that the loss of the letters will set the town back even further in some of the business that needs to take place.

“This has really put the town in a setback,” Vance said. “I’ve had a meeting with Region IV and our whole sewer project has went to a stand still. We’ve got some issues that we’ve got to get straightened out. There’s some serious stuff that’s going to happen. We’re getting ready to spend two-and-a-half million dollars for a sewer project and we’re going to have some long meetings. We’ve got some planning to do. We just need to get moving, no matter what it takes, and get back on track to move forward.”

Before the issue was closed, Findley added one speculation of where the letter could be – a speculation that was on the mark.

“There is one possibility that it’s in a bank bag down at First Citizens [Bank],” she said.

Treasurer Veronica Lane made a deposit earlier in the day and said she did not notice if she picked up the letters, but said she just grabbed everything out of the safe.

After the meeting was adjourned, councilmembers searched again for the letters and found them in the bank deposit bag.

The mayor and recorder positions are scheduled to be filled this week.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

more recommended stories