Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Commissioners Minutes from Monday, April 2

The Darke County Commissioners heard a few more questions regarding the recent settlement with Melody Lucas. The complete minutes of the meeting, including the actual business of running the county, can be found by clicking here.


DC Citizen Karyl Parks: And I quote “It was my understanding that Mrs Lucas was passed over for a permanent full time position based on one or two reasons. Fit, and leadership. During Mrs Lucas service as LEPC she had proven over and over her leadership in starting citizens Emergency Response Team and other community action groups. She dedicated herself to providing training for these groups in disaster readiness. Her leadership responsibilities involved created state wide recognized training models and was commended for them. She prodded and encouraged training readiness in many safety avenues. She made qualifications for readiness easy.

As SEARCH and RESCUE, I am required by FEMA to have NIMS 100, 200, 700, 800, Background Checks, First Aid, SARTECH II (at my own personal time and cost), Evidence Preservation, Hazmat, K9 First Aid, GPS/Land Nav/Map/Compass, Risk assessment, Dog skills team credentialing, OSHA 1910.120 and/or 1910.134(f) Respiratory Protection, and more. Since these are FEMA requirements, and these are FEMA courses, our local EMA office has provided these necessary classes free of charge as needed for specialized VOLUNTEER trainees in an effort for cost reduction training in a service provided for free. Countless weekly man hours, and I logged 30 hours, actual training hours with these guys every week. Nobody pays me for it, and nobody pays me for gas. This is a service to the County. Through the FEMA Office, your EMA Office, this impacts me greatly. I’m just not somebody, not a hot head, I’m upset about this because the training I’m losing through the County has been provided and supplied by the EMA Office. My question is, with Melody no longer in the EMA office, will these educational classes continue? If we want something in training, we usually go to her and say “well this is still required by FEMA and we need this class; and she finds other people in the County who are also in need of the class for credentialing and she will put on the class and we’ve got the class.

The reason I am asking, is many counties have dropped their civilian emergency response teams and training as LEPC Directors have been replaced and phased out. When we go to state or interstate seminars for continuing education, we continue to see this team support drop as search teams scramble for new training source outlets.

Every Township Trustee, and even the County Commissioners are required BY LAW to have NIMS 100, 200, 700 and 800 as a minimum requirement for the job. These courses are on line, but they are difficult to wade through and also difficult to pass. Those who have taken the 800 NIMS class find it exceedingly hard to pass.

Melody took the county high fail rate and offered classes to help break it down and assist our leadership in becoming job compliant.

She was in the process of bringing Darke County into a storm Ready designation, when she was forced from her position. She had many irons in the fire that have been dropped in her absence to the detriment of this county. I can only think these projects have been dropped due to the vacancy of a person in a LEADERSHIP position.

Thus the argument that she lacked leadership at the time these decisions were being made is invalidated.

I was informed that she was overlooked for the position because of "FIT", misunderstanding the exact meaning of the term, and observing melody's almost seamless service in the safety community, I can only see "fitness" as a conflict between the Commissioners Office, and a perceived personal vendetta against Melody.

If this is true, I ask you to please put your personal pouts aside, and restore a vital resource to our county back in the position where she best fits. She loved her job, and it showed. Melody and Mindy make a superlative team together. If the Commissioners had ever been aware of exactly what this office has offered our community, you would treasure the resources you had, and protected them, not ousted them.

I implore you to please rectify this mistake, and I will gladly go away”.

Commissioner Stegall: I have a question, have you talked to Mindy about the teams?

Ms. Parks: She was, we did a search drill yesterday, and we had eight (8) hours;

Commissioner Stegall: Is she planning on continuing the program?

Ms. Parks: Melody will teach the classes.

Commissioner Stegall: I didn’t ask you that. Is Mindy planning on continuing the program?

Ms. Parks: She asked Melody if she would teach the classes.

Commissioner Stegall: So she is continuing, so your assertion, what you said earlier was that you was afraid this was going to go away under Mindy? That is what you said. You were afraid that;

Ms. Parks: It is in dangered and Melody is not, Mindy is not going to continue all the training, she can’t.

Commissioner Stegall: Did she say that she wasn’t?

Ms. Parks: No.

Commissioner Stegall: She didn’t;

Ms. Parks: Ask her, ask her.

Commissioner Stegall: I’m asking you because you are the one that is making the assertion. Did you ask her if she was not going to continue it?

Ms Parks: No, she asked me;

Commissioner Stegall: You didn’t, ok. So that tells me that you really are making an assumption here, correct? You really don’t know, is that right?

Ms. Parks: Mindy is not really giving me any answers out of the EMA Office.

Commissioner Stegall: You don’t know then, do you?

Ms. Parks: No, I’m not getting answers.

Commissioner Stegall: So, last week you came in and made some pretty healthy charges against us. You even told me to my face that I was a liar, cheat and a criminal. That’s fine, that is your opinion. But then you quoted one of the, probably one of the greatest Presidents and the greatest minds that this country has ever had. I’m assuming you really respect him, Thomas Jefferson? Do you respect Thomas Jefferson?

Ms Parks: Yes.

Commissioner Stegall: Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man, and said a lot of things. And not only did he make the remark about despotism; he made one that you need to hear. I’m then going to quote you two (2) more from another guy whom I think was one of the “brilliant orders” of the 20th Century, Winston Churchill. But Mr. Jefferson said; and you have just stated that you do not know what is going on, so, Mr. Jefferson said, “He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he who’s mind is filled with falsehoods and errors”. You might want to think about that. You really don’t know what is going on so you might want to find out. Then Mr. Churchill, who is also very brilliant, said a thing that I want to, your partly right on a lot of things. He said “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak”; you have shown that; and “Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”, you might want to follow that part of it. One more, and this is kind of humorous, but it is the truth. He said, “Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on”. I just thought you might want to think about those.

Ms. Parks: Would you explain that one to me?

Commissioner Stegall: Absolutely. A lot of times we are given the truth, we see it, we just don’t like it, and we just continue on down the path were going.

Ms. Parks: Could this be both ways?

Commissioner Stegall: Absolutely, absolutely.

Ms. Parks: Alright, that is all I wanted.

Commissioner Rhoades: Does Sydney have anything she would want to say, or just being a good friend with the little guys down there? Ok. Alex (w/TIGER);

Alex Mikos: I have nothing.

Commissioner Rhoades: Mr. Dean?

DC Citizen Fred Dean: After reading the article in the “Early Bird” yesterday, and Mrs. Lucas stated and gave dates, times and everything that took place makes it sound awfully correct. The public would just honestly like to know the honest truth. My question is, did she speak the truth, yes or no?

Commissioner Rhoades: I will put it this way. Some was, some was stretched and some wasn’t.

Ms. Parks: Can you elaborate?

Commissioner Rhoades: Nope, no.

Commissioner Stegall: I think what she did more than anything was to put a timeline to it, that is what she did.

Commissioner Rhoades: Elisabeth; Fred, no matter what we say it is going to get twisted. Some points in there were good, some were stretched and some were fabricated. End of discussion.

Ms. Parks: You never defend yourself, and there for awhile we was left in the loom.

Commissioner Rhoades: It wouldn’t have done any good. Elisabeth Wirrig (w/Daily Advocate) go ahead your next; Fred, I will talk to you later ok, because I’m not going to say anything in public because I did to a fellow out back and it came right back out a_ _ backwards of what I said. There is no since in defending me, because they will pick it apart;

Ms. Parks: It is recorded;

Commissioner Rhoades: That is fine. It doesn’t matter if it is recorded here or not cause you’re going to do something different on the blog, or wherever you want to print it, and everybody else does too, so it doesn’t matter.

Ms. Parks: Because we never get anything, anything back.

Commissioner Rhoades: Duane, do you have anything? Duane Sanning (Animal Control Officer): Just wanted to make mention that this year is the first year that we, the Commissioners went to the online for the dog license sales. Just wanted to let you know that it turned out wonderful this year and we are winding down on the end of the renewal period, the cards have gone out and got a quicker online response. Talked to Kylee a little bit this morning and wanted you to know that there was like seventeen (17) online for the weekend, this weekend, and so it did work out real well and it was money well spent. I think you guys did a good job as far as going with the company that we went with to license online.

Commissioner Rhoades: Good. How are you doing with the dog park?

Mr. Sanning: The “dog park” is coming along. Actually, since that aired last week on the radio, and in the newspaper, we have had companies, Lowes being one of them, come out and wanted to know if they could render their services to us for fence construction and things like that. So, it is going real good. The PR, they had a thing on, to name the park, which I hope you guys submit a name because I would like to see that. There is about 30 to 40 names that have been submitted, and don’t know what they are right now off the top of my head but I know that Mr. Stegall had given me some names a few months back; so go online and submit your request and hopefully one of your guys names will be selected as the name of the park.

Commissioner Rhoades: Margaret, I’m sorry, I overlooked you, sorry, do you have anything?

Asst. Pros. Margaret Hayes: I do not have anything.

Commissioner Rhoades: Diane, do you have anything else? Officer Linkous, your sitting back there quiet, do you have anything?

DCSO Officer Linkous: No, I have nothing Sir.

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