Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Council rejects Mayor's appointment to City Treasurer and Board of Public Works positions

 

December 28, 2017



As the City of Kimball moves into the new calendar year, Kimball Mayor Keith Prunty is charged with appointing citizens to certain boards, committees and positions for the City of Kimball.

Prunty appointed newcomer Mike Coleman as Board of Public Works chairman, but council was not having it. Though they had earlier applauded efforts for term limits on certain committees, the council was reluctant to let go of 16 years of experience current board chairman, Jim Cederburg, brings to the table.

Coleman has resided in Kimball for approximately two years and currently serves on the LB840 committee as well as the Planning Committee.

“I feel that Coleman is a better fit in that position moving forward in our community,” Prunty said. “I am looking forward to the advancement of our community.”

“You are telling us that someone who just went through everything with us to get Keep Kimball Beautiful to work with us, someone who is heavily involved with at our landfill and our electrical projects – that is pretty rough to say there is someone better suited,” Schnell said.

Council questioned Prunty’s reasons, to which he simply stated that he understood if they did not want to approve the appointment. He added that he was looking for new ideas and a new perspective moving forward.

“You are asking us to back your decision, but you have not given us any information as to why,” council member Christy Warner said. “We are in the middle of some huge projects right now.”

Council voted to approve or disapprove each board appointment separately, with council member James Shields the sole dissenting vote. Warner moved and Schnell seconded to deny the appointment of Coleman as the chairman of the Board of Public Works – again Shields was the sole dissenting vote.

“I just think the timing on this stinks,” council member Kim Baliman said.

Though council wants Cederburg to remain on the board, his term is up and the Mayor is expected to name a new appointee at the next council meeting.

All other appointments, which were reappointments, were approved until the council came to the reappointment of City Treasurer Laurie Sisk.

“What we had for episodes during our budget and problems we have had on park and rec areas, bookkeeping there and on our payroll too, that it would be best that, upon approval, that we have guidance from you two (City Administrator Dan Dean and Prunty) to make sure this all gets straightened out,” Schnell said. “For the dollars we are spending, we need a professional job.”

Dean explained that separate spreadsheets were maintained and changes to some of those did not get copied into past budgets.

“At the time, Rosie (Russell, retired City Clerk) was here, she was the one who handled it all,” Prunty said. “I don’t believe that information was shared.”

“Given the information that the Mayor shared with each of us, and given that we approved (Dean’s) contract, so we have confidence in what he is supposed to be doing, so let’s put it to a vote,” Shields said.

Council allowed the attempt to reappoint Sisk die for lack of a second to Shields motion to reappoint Sisk, who then left the meeting to gather her personal belongings.

“I am disappointed in the outcomes at the city council meeting Tuesday evening. I had only been recently informed of concerns regarding Laurie Sisk. Immediately following that, the City Administrator and I had an independent audit done to see if there were further concerns that needed to be investigated. That audit came up with no glaring issues and no misappropriation of funds was indicated,” Prunty said. “This information was given to the council as well as the plans to monitor the council’s concerns. Three members of the council did not give Laurie that opportunity. It was sad to have this happen at Christmas time and I wish Laurie and her family the very best.”

 

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