Country Pub, Alice Hancock Contract Issues End at Village of South Jacksonville Meeting

By Benjamin Cox on October 3, 2019 at 9:21pm

The Village of South Jacksonville put two controversial issues to rest tonight – one with a vote and the other by answering a question. About a dozen concerned citizens filled up the village board room to hear the village take action on the special use permit for a possible tavern at 1724 South Main Street Suite A – owned by former village trustee Stacey Pinkerton and her husband Tom Pinkerton. The village heard from three concerned citizens on the matter who all said the tavern would either effect businesses negatively located in the strip mall in which the tavern would be located and shares parking with or it would negatively effect homes in the area due to patron behaviors and safety issues. George Murphy, a resident of the village of 45 years and a member of the local Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter said that the tavern would be a major safety risk in the area.

Trustee Greg Nelson made a motion to bring the vote to the floor. Trustee Dick Samples said he would second the motion to finally get a vote on the matter so it could finally be done. The special use permit was unanimously voted against – with no votes from all the trustees. Trustee Paula Belobradjic-Stewart said after the meeting that she found the ask for the permit by Pinkerton to be a bit ironic since Pinkerton had voted against a similar permit when Diamond Jean’s gaming parlor was installed in the very same building in 2016. Stewart said that any other location in the village would have been a better place to choose for the location of a bar or tavern because it wouldn’t be located next to homes. Stewart also said that the zoning was not correct for a special use establishment like a bar either.

At the conclusion of the vote, the village board all unanimously gave praise to Larry Moore, who was in attendance, as chair of the village’s Plans Commission. Despite the outcome of the vote, everyone on the board said that the Plans Commission had done their due diligence on the matter in looking at zoning and building requirements.

The village also heard the last arguments in the contract for keeping Alice Hancock as a village accountant. Suzanne Steckel of Zumbahlen, Eyth, Surratt, Foote, & Flynn said that in the audit findings that the segregation of duties problem that had plagued the village for 10 years or more during audits had been removed because of Hancock’s work in the office. Steckel said that it was the first time since working on the village’s audits since 2013 that things had passed through so smoothly. Steckel gave a brief run through of what Hancock and Village Office Manager Tiffanee Peters had accomplished since they took over the office as far as segregating duties to avoid fraud risk and conflicts of interest. Despite the information, Hancock asked the board if they had ultimately decided to tender her a contract. Village President Jennings had said that the board had decided to move on from Hancock at a previous meeting, and that he had notified her during a phone call over a week ago. Hancock and Jennings as well as Trustee Jason Hill went back and forth over the miscommunication of the termination of her services. Hancock¬† was visibly upset and said that wasn’t the way she did business and she was sorely displeased with the handling of the matter before the meeting adjourned.

The Village will next meet in committee of the whole on Tuesday, October 22nd at 6:30PM at Village Hall on Dewey Drive.