During the Council Meeting of Sept. 17, 2014, Councilman Wortman once again made charges that Village employees were not doing their job and they were not giving eight hours of work to the village to earn their pay. He indicated that many residents had complained to him about this and he had a right and a duty to make sure that the village was getting its benefit from these employees.
He started his rant concerning the Water and Sewer Department and when I told him there is a Board of Public Affairs which consists of three people elected to oversee that operation he quickly turned his statements to the Village Street Department.
With the support of Councilman Peters, he went on a rant about how terrible the town looks and that our two-man street department is doing a terrible job. Since this tactic has been tried before by both Wortman and Peters, I told Mr. Wortman to put his complaint in writing and give it to me or shut up about it. He has never done this nor has Mr. Peters although both have been told they can talk to me at anytime and both have been told and should know as council members that if a person is going to accuse an employee of the village of actions or inactions that could result in discipline measures against an employee, then it should be in writing and given to the mayor. The mayor by law is responsible to investigate such complaints and after said investigation, by law take the appropriate action reporting same to Council.
I do not believe Councilman Wortman or Councilman Peters will act accordingly and I do not believe that either one understands or knows what their authority or duties are as a council member of this village. They both should know because both have several years on Council, and in short Title 7 of the Ohio Revised Code spells this out if either care to take the time to read it.
During the time I have spent interacting with them it is evident to me that they both have a dislike for me as a person and as to why that is, one would have to ask them directly. In my last conversation on the evening of the council meeting with Councilman Peters, he brought up something about me in Athens, Ohio back in the early 1970's that he knows nothing about. I was also told that prior to the last election in which I had three opponents, that if I won the mayor's race he would resign. Maybe some of you who know him well can confirm this as it was alleged to have been said in a public place, that being the Eagles.
My thoughts along this line are that both of these individuals attack the street department in this case because if they were successful it would reflect poorly on me as mayor, as the mayor is directly responsible for the Street and Police Department. If their goal is to run for mayor or to help someone else get elected should I live long enough and decide to run again, then I tell you both in this open letter, to reconsider your tactics because what your are and have been engaged in is harmful to the village employees and the village in general.
Our village has faced in the past, under another administration, lawsuits filed by employees which had merit and were very costly to the village costing our taxpayers over $200,000 in settlements and attorney fees. Councilman Wortman was on Council at that time. I, coming in as mayor, had the job of cleaning up the mess so to speak and getting our village out of debt and in a position to provide the services our residents deserve. That has been accomplished by anyone's standard.
If anyone has a complaint, I am easy to get in touch with, I live at 209 N. Market St., have a house phone 596-5829, a cell phone 357-9975, a store phone 596-4607, and the Mayor's Office at 596-5803. You can be assured if you have a complaint I will listen to you no matter who you are, I will investigate your complaint and if it has merit, take action to correct it as I always have for my close to 12 years as in the position of mayor of our village.
James F. Wooddell
Mayor, Village of McArthur