WELLSVILLE - There was a light agenda for Wellsville Village Council at its first regular meeting of 2013, though the issue of fiscal officer Dale Davis loomed over the proceedings inside council chambers on Tuesday evening.
Village business for the new year was completed, including the nomination and appointment of council member Don Brown as council president pro tempore, and the decision to retain all 2012 council committee members to their respective posts for 2013.
Village Mayor Susan Haugh declined to present her customary report to council, stating that she will provide one at the next regular meeting on Jan. 15.
Council went into a lengthy executive session with Davis and Mayor Haugh in attendance. Council member Tony Cataldo, who chairs the village personnel committee, requested the closed-door session for disciplinary purposes.
Following their return from executive session, the meeting was quickly adjourned.
Village solicitor Andy Beech declined to provide any information of the complaint against Davis or what the next step in the process would be. Beech stated that no disciplinary action had yet been decided upon or undertaken. He also confirmed that Davis would remain as the village fiscal officer, a post that Davis has held for seven years.
Beech said that neither county nor state authorities had been in the process. "This is an internal matter for the Village of Wellsville at this point in time, so I don't believe there was any need to notify anyone else," he said.
Neither Beech nor Davis would elaborate on the nature of the complaint, though Davis did say that he was only made aware of the accusations against him during the executive session. When asked what he will do in the interim while his future with the village is decided, Davis replied, "Remain calm."
The issue of disciplinary action against Davis surfaced following a special Jan. 3 council meeting. At that time, The Review learned that an emergency meeting had been called the previous day, for which the media had not been notified. Failure to do so constitutes a violation of Ohio's Sunshine Laws, which require that the press be notified immediately whenever such meetings are convened.
Following the Jan. 3 meeting, Haugh had told The Review that an emergency meeting of Jan. 2 had been called to add the name of fiscal clerk Cassandra Bloor to the village bank accounts, giving Bloor the authority to sign village checks in Davis' absence. Mayor Haugh's name was also added to the accounts on an "as-required" basis.
This was done, Haugh had stated, because Davis was absent from work on Jan. 2, and there were village checks that had to be written immediately. Davis' absence was at Haugh's request, however, coming from a Dec. 30 text message sent to Davis advising that he not come to work at Wellsville the following day. Haugh went on to recommend, "that our paths don't cross until I get all the facts straight."
After last night's meeting, The Review made a public records request to Davis for copies of the checks that were signed on Jan. 2 following the emergency meeting. Davis replied that he could not provide any such copies, since no village checks had been written on Wednesday.
Mayor Haugh left the village hall immediately following the adjournment of last night's meeting, declining to answer any questions related to Davis.