The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

La Harpe Council Dismisses Dittmer, Hires New Counselor

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher

Monday, April 25

After an executive session was called at 7:05 and lasted until 7:53 p.m., to discuss the hiring of legal counsel, the members of La Harpe City Council returned into session then announced the resignation of City Attorney Dittmer and approved a motion to accept his resignation.

Council member Darrell Kraft talked about the background of Attorney Diane Bartus Diestler of Blandinsville who was present at the meeting and her experiences as several villages attorney.

With a motion by Kraft, a second by Stiller and an unanimous vote by the board, Diane Diestler was appointed as new city attorney.

In this, they also accepted her fee agreement of $125 an hour with a 4 hour limit per month, unless there is special requests or ordinance resolutions needed.

The board said that Kurt Dittmer has agreed to continue on as the farm manager, which is separate from City Attorney, and he had indicated that his appointment was through 2017.

After discussion, Kraft made the motion to retain Dittmer as Johnson Farm Manager per prior agreement until February 2017. Foster seconded the motion. It carried unanimously.

In other business, council:


He said Thomas with W.L. Miller came to the water plant for 3 days. He said a key had been taken from the water plant in town and equipment had been tampered with at the reservior water plant.

He said a customer had subtracted money off their water bill for garbage that wasn't picked up for 1 week.

He read some of the emails he had received from interim Brian McIlhenny.

He wanted it put on the next agenda to compensate Marte McKee for trying to get rid of the beavers at the reservior.

He asked that it be put on the agenda about individuals filling swimming pools.

He asked why a customer owing over $160 wasn't put on the shut-off list and now they have left town owing over $200. Stiller said she would look into it.

He reported about the hydrants that are being flushed and that the reservoir is down 7 inches and he forsees a drought come July.

He said his name was taken off the EPA list, and David Little put on as a sampler for EPA who doesn't even have a license!

He asked Mayor Kienast what he was and was told he was a water operator. Graves announced that if he was only a water operator (instead of Water Superintendent) then he would not be responsible if things go awry.

Graves also questioned items being taken off the agenda. Attorney Diestler said one person is usually in charge of the agenda and in this case it is Lucretia McPeak, the Clerk who works with the Mayor.

Attorney Diestler said she would look over ordinances and past minutes and find the timeline of when things happend regarding Tim Graves and the appointment of the interim and if things were improperly done, "We'll correct them," she told Graves.

After discussion about a couple items purchased in the water department, Graves said the Interim told him to purchase the item. "He even told me to get a second one for a spare (which Graves hasn't done).

Mershon made the motion to pay all bills and Palmer seconded the motion. Motion unanimously passed.

The meeting adjourned at 9:18 p.m.

Several went to greet the new attorney.

Answering roll call were: Amy Palmer, Dave Mershon, Marcia Stiller, Kenneth Foster, Josiah Neff, Darrell, Treasurer- Marcia Neff, City Clerk- Lucretia, and Mayor Ryan Kienast.

Also present were: Tim Graves, Monalisa Graves, Dean Spangler, Justin Livingston, a Hancock County Sheriff, Elaine Hrabal, Marlie Burt, Chad Burt, Cassidy Burt, Gary Jackson, Carol Stevens, Todd Stevens, Heather Maynard, Amber Pence, Niki Maske, Bette June Mapes, Connie Williams, Larry Williams, Sonja Strange, Barb Oliver, Kevin Oliver, Tiffany Foster, Larry Pooger, Linda Kosifas, Mark Kosifas, Brian Covert, Lacey Covert, Bev Anderson, Paul Anderson, Wayne Yetter, Rex Stewart, Barb Stewart, Lacie Thompson, Bart Thompson, Peg Webster, Dan Gillett, Delbert Kreps, Dave Clover, Ed Pence, Ken Brown, Jason Graves, Mark Stokke, Shirlene Jones, Shelby Jones, Terry Jones, Barry Wright, Diane Diestler, Barbara Louden, John Louden, Richard Wood, Ted Shutwell, Larry Hobby, Bill Burt, Jay Lebeck, Lee Witte, Megan McNeill, Dessa Rodeffer, and those who refused to sign in.