Healdton City Council appointed Water Superintendent Brian Scribner as acting city manager during a special meeting Monday night and conducted several phone interviews for the city manager position.
Former City Manager Greg Parker was expected to remain in the position until Aug. 17, following the council’s decision to not renew his contract last month, causing some confusion as to why Scribner was appointed Monday.
“I don’t know if he’s taking vacation or sick leave or whatever,” Scribner said of Parker on Tuesday. “The mayor told me I wouldn’t technically be acting city manager until (Parker’s) last day.”
The council also voted on compensation for the acting city manager Monday, which Scribner said they had not done in the past when he had to serve as acting city manager. He said he will be getting paid extra for fulfilling the city manager’s duties until a new person is hired.
Three phone interviews were conducted during the special meeting for the position, Scribner said. The council went into executive session over the matter, but no one has been hired yet. Another meeting was set for more interviews, likely in-person, on Aug. 18, he said.
Parker’s last public comments to the council were documented in a letter, which he said during last week’s regular meeting would be attached to the Aug. 1 meeting minutes. In the letter, he thanked Mayor Randy Welch and council member Dusty Miller, but said he did not understand why council members Linda Hill, Treva Gage and Manuel Davila did not renew his contract.
Parker listed a number of his accomplishments as city manager of Healdton and how they benefited the city in the letter. He also pointed out the reasons why he believed each council member did not renew his contract, addressing problems he had with each of them, many of which related to favoring the Healdton Industrial Authority.
Parker said both Gage and Hill demanded he never cut HIA’s golf course water off again and to give them a break on their water bill, even though they were several months behind.
In a section addressed to Gage, Parker wrote, “…you wanted me to be active in code enforcement with your local neighbors and issuing citations because of their grass not being cut, but upset when I send HIA a letter to mow the lake and their other property.
“Or maybe it is because: You wanted the HIA managed pool to open without completing the fire marshals inspection list, placing all the citizens of Healdton at risk.”
A petition from Healdton residents to recall both Gage and Hill as city council members was turned in and filed with the city clerk’s office July 27, claiming the two violated the law.
Parker previously told The Ardmoreite it was because there was no roll call vote for spending and they were believed to have willfully disregarded corruption within the HIA. The two council members had 10 days to file a response to the recall.
In a statement of recall filed by Gage, she said all allegations were unfounded and without merit.
“I did not willfully act to violate any state statutes. I was left to conduct my (first) council meeting on 7/18/16 due to Mayor Welch leaving the meeting. (City Manager) Parker and Clerk (Liz) Sloat were in attendance when the next item on the agenda was read and voted on but never spoke up to remind me that a roll call vote was required, as had been done with previous mayors,” Gage wrote.
The vice mayor also said the city attorney was absent during the meeting and there was no direction for the council members who were left.
“The mistake was corrected (three) days later with a special meeting and a roll call vote to approve all financials,” Gage said.
Council member Linda Hill mentioned the city attorney’s absence in her statement against recall, as well. She also wrote that Parker sent the city council a letter on April 16 that he would not be renewing his August 17, 2016 contract.
Gage and Hill both pointed out the mayor, Randy Welch, instructed Gage he was leaving and to get someone else to go to the SORC board meeting. Gage said she did not replace Mayor Welch on the SORC board.
“He told me as he was leaving to find someone to sit in his place, and Councilman Davila was asked if he could attend the meeting in Mayor Welch’s place, and he agreed,” Gage wrote.
Gage said as far as the HIA goes, they have been continually working to bring their audits up to date, no different than the city of Healdton. She added, HIA has prepared and submitted budgets.
“The rest I don’t know. It is not clear,” Hill wrote regarding the HIA. “Unless it is on (the) HIA holding lease on (the) city lake and pool. HIA tax is on (the) November ballot. To let the voters decide.”
Healdton residents now have the option to get a total of 92 signatures to take to city council if they decide to proceed with the recall of both council members. If the signatures are acquired, the council must then hold an election within 30 days to fill the seats.
Gage currently serves Ward 2 and Hill is at-large.