December 28, 2009

Ombudsman Issues Investigative Report On Misconduct Of Stuart Street Superintendent (Updated)

Posted in City News at 3:19 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

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Update – It has been brought to my attention that the skid loader used by Bob to clear his drive last week was rented from John Schwinger.  It is identical to the one owned by the city and was dropped off at the city yard for his use.

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The Ombudsman Office has completed their investigation and issued this investigative report.

While I find the report interesting in its findings today I also remember seeing Mr. Airhart using the city skip loader in his drive last week just before this last snowfall pushing the old snowfall back out of the way.  Since the city has been in receipt of this report for at least 30 days and responded back to the Ombudsman Office it is hard to believe that Mr. Airhart was unaware of the report findings and persists in flagrantly violating city employee standards.  Let alone a city administrator and council who have failed to take any appreciable disciplinary action over the years.

One can only hope that with a new mayor taking office next month there is some hope that city personnel problems will begin to be addressed in a firm, fair and timely manner.

Turning A Blind Eye, An Investigation Into Misconduct by the City of Stuart’s Street Superintendent, and How City Leaders Responded to It

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November 7, 2009

New Park Equipment Going Up (Updated)

Posted in City News at 9:36 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Volunteers and city employees gathered today to install new play ground equipment in the park and at the soccer field.  Installation will be completed early next week.  These are from the park.  When I go out tomorrow I will get a couple of pictures from the soccer field.

3parkequip

2 park

Soccer Field

1soccorequip

2soccor

November 4, 2009

Election Results

Posted in City News at 5:17 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Congratulations to the winners.

Mayor – Dick Cook

Council Members – Bryan Belden, Neal Crawford, Matt Funk and Wade Chafa.

November 3, 2009

Happy Election Day (Updated)

Posted in City News at 1:10 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Polls are open from 12 pm to 8 pm at the Congregational Church.

Good Luck to all the candidates and Happy Voting.

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Update – Here is the link to the election results at the Guthrie County Auditors Office.  The results will be posted late tonight.

Election Results

 

September 22, 2009

Mayor And Council Candidates

Posted in City News at 2:37 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

For the office of Mayor these are the three candidates:

Dick Cook

Kevin Pieper

Peggy Schlichter

There are five candidates for four council seats.  They are:

Bryan Belden

Wade Chafa

Neal Crawford

Matt Funk

Dorothy Karradi

July 9, 2009

Library Move Update

Posted in City News at 4:42 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Everyone who has driven uptown this week saw the old library coming down.  What you didn’t see was all the work being done on the Town Hall getting it ready for use as the temporary library until the new city building is completed.

The work is just about done and the librarians and volunteers are about ready to start unpacking and shelving the books.  If all goes as planned they hope to be open again on July 20th.

January 23, 2009

Dear Council Members,

Posted in City News at 2:36 am by thevoicesofstuart

A little something to think about.

By Curious

Peg

How do you think the budget meeting will go on Feb 2, 2009??

they surely cannot even be thinking of raises for any employees due to the state of these hard times for people. FREEZE !!!!!

I as a tax payer are tired of funding their full benefits, my husband has to pay for health care from his check, so why do this city employees not have to pay a dime? Times are tough and this city needs to tighten its belt and start cutting back. changing hours, cutting hours, or plain eliminating part time and contract employees.

it is hard to drive by the fire station and see all the city trucks and utility ones also, walking in the door at 10:00 am and then coming back by a half hour later or more and they are just leaving. all the places that i have worked in my life, your break was taken in the break room of your company. and no citizen paid fuel was used to go to break.

I read the stuart herald today and way to go John Crew!!! maybe this city needs to look into some of his idea’s. and I also agree about the city administrator living in this town. he cannot manage personnel from 60 miles away.

The town of Dexter received a grant for sidewalks for school, they have a food pantry. And if you read the article they did not even mention the town of stuart, the products came from Redfield, Dexter and Wiscotta. Way to go Dexter and good for you. Wonder how many Stuartites will use this?

I wonder how long it will take this city council to realize not all of us were born with a silver spoon in our mouths, and you cannot have it all. Something has to give, like a new pool! We need infrastructure like new sewers and plant, improve streets.

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Curious,

After attending the meetings for the last several years and watching the budget cycle unfold I expect that Mr. Ashour will pass out a copy of what he wants for funding.  They will ask him if the levels are adequate for city operations.  If they have a new pet project this is when they usually bring it up.  Other than that….it is pretty cut and dried.

Health insurance for city personnel is handled by the Utility Board as part of their contract negotiations and the city opts to carry all personnel under that plan since it locks in the coverage price for several years at a time.  Partial employee funding was discussed briefly a couple of years ago but since there was several years left on the existing coverage and would violate the Utility Board Employee Contract Agreement they decided it was best to not change anything.

Break times and locations are a leadership issue that rests squarely on the Mayor, City Administrator and Utilities Supervisor.  Perceptions are everything in a small town.

I have not seen the Herald this week but I do agree that several councils have not enforced the city code on residency for the city administrator.

I agree that going forward with the aquatic center at this time was a imprudent move on the part of the council.  But we can all look forward to the rate hike coming that will fund the shortfall for the new waste treatment plant, water/sanitary sewer lines needed to supply the new school and to fix the storm water problem on Harlan Street.  And lets not forget that this years street project is obligating half of the street budget for the next 10 years to cover that.  Again it all comes down to the council’s judgment in setting priorities.

October 28, 2008

(Update 2) Community Cultural Center Update

Posted in City News at 9:07 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

As long as the crane is working, the wind is not blowing to strongly, it does not rain or any other misalignment they are going to raise the dome into place tomorrow at 11 am.

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Update

The crane has arrived and the latest word is they will be ready to lift around 10:30 am.

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Update 2

The lift of the dome base was a success and went off without a hitch.  It was lifted, placed and welded onto the support structure yesterday.

August 17, 2008

School Talk (Update)

Posted in City News at 10:33 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

I received a comment about the Dallas County News Article concerning the WCV/RAMBO troubles.  They asked if I had read the article, which I had not.  They were also not very happy that they had to be shown the article by a family member to even find out about what is going on there.  I will copy the comment into this as the first one.

As you all probably know I do not pay to much attention to the school.  What I know about it is what I hear at the council meetings if it comes up at all.  Or if as in this case someone gives me a heads up about an article.

While I know it is not high on my list I do know that is high on many of yours.

What I know about the school is already in the post I did on the council finally deciding to go ahead with a city library.

Here is the article for you to read yourselves and this will provide a thread for you to discuss it.

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Update

Here is the latest school news from the Mid-Iowa News

Apparently the library and a wellness center are back on the agenda along with infrastructure costs in a Special Joint City Council and School Board Meeting at 6:30 pm, August 28th in the City Hall.

August 13, 2008

FEMA Approves Individual Assistance For Adair/Guthrie Counties

Posted in City News at 5:39 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

For those of you who pre-registered for Individual Assistance you will be receiving a phone call to set up a visit by a FEMA Representative in the near future.  Some have already been notified and visits set up.

For those of you who wish to register you should do so now.

For those of you who do not want to deal with FEMA you should check out the following information.

IRS Publication 2194 is the Disaster Losses Kit For Individuals.  It includes the information, forms and instructions to complete the documents necessary to claim uncovered losses.

August 6, 2008

FEMA And Rebuild Iowa Headed For Town

Posted in City News at 8:57 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

According to a phone call received today from the Governor’s Office there will be representatives from FEMA and Rebuild Iowa visiting Stuart late this week to re-evaluate this area.  They are well aware that most experienced subterranean/basement damages.  There were no promises of help but they are willing to re-evaluate the situation here.

They additionally requested that those people whose insurance did not cover the damage, insurance that did not cover all the damage or who had unmet needs call FEMA and pre-register for assistance.  Doing so will give them a better understanding of the problems many face.

If/when the status changes for this area you will be registered for assistance.

To pre-register call the FEMA Individual Assistance Program at 1-800-621-3362.

Remember, your tax dollars fund FEMA, so if you have a need pre-register.

July 30, 2008

Beware Of Possible Clean Up Scams

Posted in City News at 10:42 am by thevoicesofstuart

Peggy Schlichter

I received a email from a resident who was given conflicting information from their insurance company about the coverage available for water damage cleanup.  The received a phone call from someone saying they represent their insurance company offering them several phone numbers to have all the water damage cleaned, repairs done and giving a 5 year warranty against the possibility of further water damage.  No specifics were given on what this miracle cure is that has a 5 year warranty.  Luckily the resident had already talked to their local adjuster and knew that their insurance did not cover the damage.  If they had not known this before the call they would have assumed that it was covered and the insurance would pay the bill.  They would then have been liable for the clean up bill from this company when the insurance refused coverage.

Please make sure that you have talked to your local adjuster before obligating yourself to any outside help.

July 28, 2008

Good Morning Flooded Basement

Posted in City News at 1:21 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Well, I sure did not expect 5+ inches of rain last night and neither did my basement.  At 3am I had a foot of water and by 6 am it was up to two feet.  At least by then the lightning and rain had stopped and the electricity was back on.  After stretching the hose out to the street (no storm sewers here) and wading around setting the pump in the basement I started it pumping by 6:15 am.  It is now 1:15 pm and it has been pumping for 7 hours and it has only gone down 4 inches.  That tells me that water is still coming in that tile.  With a 500 gph pump I had hoped that it would be down further by now.  It looks like I am going to have to dig up that old tile line and remove it for some distance south of the house.  This ought to be so much fun since all the utilities enter the house in the same place.  This is not a job I am looking forward to.

Anyone else get a surprise this morning?

July 17, 2008

Guest Editorial

Posted in City News at 9:56 pm by thevoicesofstuart

This editorial was submitted by email today.

Guest Editorial

July 2, 2008

Library Board Dismisses Director

Posted in City News at 10:53 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

With a 2 to 1 vote during Friday night’s Special Meeting of the Library Board Katie Phippen was dismissed as the Library Director.  The last minute Special Meeting was called because the Library Board had to complete her performance appraisal and set the wages for the next fiscal year before June 30th.

In a phone interview yesterday Katie stated that she was blindsided with a list of complaints of which there had been no mention during the last year, at any of the regular board meetings, of any shortfalls in her performance.  Some of the complaints included: failing get up and leave her office to greet Friends of the Library who came in the door even when a librarian was at the desk, inappropriate work attire,  failing to deliver books to the Care Center and submitting fraudulent time sheets.

When Katie denied the fraudulent time sheets she was presented with a list of dates where she was told that she was not at work but her time sheets reflected that she was.  She countered with just because you drive by and do not see my car does not mean I am not working.  Just because you call and I am not here it does not mean I am not out doing library business.  My car has been in the shop a lot lately and was dropped off before work and picked up after the library closed.  I have also been walking to work to save gas.  Where is the proof that I was not working.

At the end of the board discussion of her performance Ms. Mendelson made a motion to dismiss Katie as the Library Director and the motion was seconded by Mrs. Sherman.

There were 4 board members present and they voted:

Foy – No

Mendelson – Yes

Sherman – Yes

Doud – Abstain

After her dismissal Katie still stayed at the meeting and fought to get a $.40 an hour raise for the other librarians.  They will now make $8.40 an hour after having worked there since 1995.

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As always these are my thoughts and mine alone.

This whole action strikes me as a repeat of last years trumpeted up charges presented at Katie’s performance review.  It also makes me wonder which of the two who voted to dismiss her is waiting in the wings to step in and supposedly save the day since summer reading is scheduled for this afternoon.   Any one care to guess?

While I understand that no one is perfect I probably visit the library more often than just about anyone else in town including everyone of the board members combined.  I have watched Katie press for the transformation of the library into a pleasant, mildew, dust and mold free environment.  I have seen her scoop mud and water from the basement.  I have witnessed her shortfalls but I have also watched her work to address them and have noticed a marked improvement during this last year.  Something that the board has never bothered to do.  They show up for the meetings and raise cane about something they have not witnessed.

I made this same argument last year and reminded the board that they should at least read the Trustees Handbook on how they should manage a director.  Apparently it was a waste of breath.

I for one will miss Katie.  I would also like to tell my readers that I have personally thanked her for all her hard work.  For all the books I have asked her to chase down and borrow for me.  For not having to go home and suffer from asthma attacks.  For bringing a wide range of new books.  For increasing the patronage numbers to qualify for more state funding even though it is still being withheld because the building is not ADA compliant.  For transforming the library out of the dark ages into a place the town can be proud of.

Thanks again Katie.

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