The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Gladstone Mayor Casts Deciding Vote To Pay Pre-Flood Bills of $54,000

by Dessa Rodeffer - Quill Publisher/Owner

Gladstone Mayor Rex McKinney cast the deciding vote Monday evening, and directed the clerk to pay pre-flood bills totaling $52,328.68 to Kurt McChesney' from FEMA money they've been holding.

The amount was over half the $89,082.81 which McChesney was demanding payment within ten business days or arrangements made for payments, or a lawsuit would be filed against the Village.

There were two sets of bills, pre-flood or building of the levee, and clean up after the flood. Mayor McKinney first addressed pre-flood bills.

"That is where the contractors that submitted their bills and were approved by FEMA," he said. "I think we need to pay the bills. There's no sense in holding on to their money. I think we should go ahead, myself, and pay them. What does the board think?"

Trustee Darlene Manes said, "I make a motion to pay all the bills. I've always said that. Now we've got the money we should pay it. It's not our money, so, that's what I've always said, so, I make a motion to pay the bills."

Mayor McKinney began to ask for a second when Village Attorney Andrew Youngquist said it needs to be more clear what bills they are talking about, and the amounts.

Trustee Jim Hetrick handed the Mayor a list of the bills and Mayor McKinney proceeded to read each invoice:

Ryco $16,906.50; M&K Farms Partnership-$16,339.22 RYCO Ag Products $4,677.50 Gladstone Salvage, Inc. $781.32; Gladstone Grain Co. $5,206.73. MKI Farm Inc. $3,392.52; McChesney Farms $2,513.02, Husband Trucking $2,511.87...... = Totals $52,328.68

"It was all submitted to FEMA. FEMA approved them, the village has been paid. The money is in the bank, and I think we should go ahead and get them paid," McKinney said.

Darlene made a motion to pay each of the invoices and Junior Bielser seconded it.

Hetrick asked Junior where he was at during the flood and he responded, "at home."

During discussion, Trustee Manes said it wasn't their money, "We are just a flow through" we just "pay the bills".

Hetrick said the Inspectors General out of Chicago says at some point, the FEMA money will be audited. She said even if we have checks or receipts at $50 an hour and it is found you can hire sandbaggers at $20 an hour, she said you will pay the rest back. Each item will be evaluated.

Darlene didn't agree with going around finding a better price on things implying that you can always find a cheaper person if you looked long enough.

Hetrick responded that board members were all up for election and he didn't feel anyone was worthy to sit on the board if they would pay $51 a hour without having verification.

The Mayor said that RYCO has two invoices One is for equipment and the other has listed the employees to construct the levee and fill sandbags, with the hours they worked, dates worked, and hours paid. I don't know what else we can add to that.

The Mayor was questioned from the audience where was all this equipment at, referring to RYCO. And the mayor asked, "You didn't see them RYCO trucks running around with the big old letters on the side, that said RYCO? You didn't see the gators. You didn't see the pumps. You didn't see any of that."

The answer was "No." "No." in each case.

The Mayor said if there was no further discussion among board members, he would move it to a vote.

Florence Stewart made the motion to pay the pre-flood bills and Manes seconded it and a roll call vote showed Bielser-yes, Hetrick-no, Hopkins-no, Manes-yes, Sebastian-no, Stewart-yes. and Mayor McKinney breaking the tie with a "yes" vote.

Hetrick asked what amount they were paying, if they were deducting the 10% (the same as FEMA did). Their attorney said, "This board just adopted to pay what was on the invoice."

The invoices added up to $52,328.68.

The Mayor said the seconded part of the bills were for clean-up and noted that the village had unanimously voted for McChesney to do the work. He did some of the work but it was not completed. We can pay for the work that was done but not for the work that was not completed. McKinney questioned the board what they wanted to do.

Manes said that Byron came in and asked the state to clean up, and that was not board approved.

"What did that cost village," Hetrick asked.

"I think it should be board approved," Manes said.

The board also discussed a missing invoice they were being billed for. No one seemed to know what the amount was, or what is was for. Attorney Youngquist said invoice #20819... working the numbers backwards, must be for $4,799.40.

After some discussion Trustee Bielser asked if Kevin Shauman was going to get any money for his work. Mayor McKinney said he turned in the PW for Shauman and Don Oleson. Its in their hands, he said, referring to FEMA.

The attorney advised further talk should be in closed session. "I don't think it is wise to discuss pending lawsuit in front of the one that is suing you, referring to McChesney who was present.

Mayor McKinney said that last month it was brought up that the States Attorney advised him to give Byron Sebastian a letter to submit a bill for work performed outside the village limits to Alan Ferguson at the county highway dept. The Clerk will prepare a letter and it will be signed by the Mayor.

Florence Stewart moved the board go into closed session, and it was seconded by Darlene Manes to discuss the letter from McChesney's attorney and what course of action they will take on the second part of the flood bills dealing with clean-up.

After closed season, no action was taken and the board voted to adjourn.

Tuesday, Clerk Hetrick wrote checks to RYCO, HUSBAND, and various McChesney bills for pre-flood totaling $52,328.68 including the village's 10% share.

Gladstone Board members were called into a special meeting Monday evening by the mayor to discuss unpaid flood bills, and recent demand by Kurt McChesney (not pictured) for quick payment of FEMA funds they are holding. From left are trustees Jim Hetrick, Byron Sebastian, Mike Hopkins, Jr. Bielser, Mayor Rex McKinney, Village Attorney Andy Youngquist, Florence Stewart, and Darlene Manes. A Sheriff's deputy sits in to monitor the meeting.