Three trustees miss meeting, Samples gives one no-vote

By Benjamin Cox on November 16, 2018 at 1:12pm

Only half of the South Jacksonville Board of Trustees was present for the special Board meeting last night. The meeting continued, as all Open Meetings Act requirements were met.

Stacy Pinkerton, Paula Stewart, and John Gotschall were all absent from the special Board meeting last night, as over half an inch of snowfall covered our area the night before. Trustee Pinkerton explains the thought process for, at the very least, her absence last night.

“Paula and Sherm and I thought it would be best to cancel the meeting because the school district had also closed their buildings and offices after the snow, and we thought the same regard should be given by the Village. There were also some things that hadn’t been taken back to committee that we thought were a bit troubling as well. That being said, each of us individually made the decision not to attend the meeting last night.”

Trustees Dick Samples, Greg Nelson, and Chris Norton were in attendance yesterday evening, with all department heads present as well. One action item, a resolution regarding a Fire Department 501(c)3 fund, was tabled for discussion at a future meeting. The job description for the enforcement officer was the only action item that wasn’t unanimously passed. Village President Harry Jennings offered descriptions of what seem to now be two separate positions: a ‘Code Compliance Officer’ which would reportedly handle all permits, and a ‘Code Enforcement Officer’ in the public eye handling “nuisances”.

Trustee Samples offers his thoughts on these descriptions and reasoning for his no vote.

“Well, I thought it was poorly presented. This is very typical of Harry Jennings’ style of government. He wants to get things passed without discussions, and I think that’s wrong. I think there are a lot of things that need to be discussed in committee before there is action taken on them.”

Samples says the tasks involved in being code enforcement officer are complicated.

“I had no real problem splitting this job into two. I did the code enforcement officer job for a couple of years, and I know it’s difficult. You don’t make any friends when you go out and tell someone you gotta cut your grass, or you gotta remove a car or something like that. We have implemented some rules and regulations that make the job easier. I also think it’s reasonable that the code enforcement officer should go with a police officer, because there is a semblance of authority that comes with a police officer. But, I don’t think it was discussed enough before it was voted on. There were only three trustees there last night, I voted against it, and it passed. That’s what happened…”

A Committee of the Whole meeting will likely be scheduled for Thursday the 29th so the Trustees can have more discussion as a whole before the December monthly Board meeting.