Oak Grove City Council met Tuesday night for a regular meeting to discuss issues surrounding the city’s ethics committee as well as recent alleged misconduct by city officials and prior to the meeting’s adjournment, Councilwoman Kisha Mische-Jeffrey announced that she would be resigning from city council.
While the council did not have official business to be considered for voting on Tuesday night’s agenda, Councilmember Ed Cook brought several issues to the council for discussion, one of which was accusing Mayor Theresa Jarvis of misconduct at a previous meeting.
“There’s been some — I’m going to borrow this from another council member — some errors in professional conduct for opposing views,” Cook said to the council and those in attendance of the meeting.
“This happens to citizens of this town and to council members of the town. Mayor, you have asked police to arrest these people in the past. You’ve been rude to them … I’m asking for people to stand for (Councilwoman) Jackie Oliver for doing her job and this should never happen again.”
Cook was referring to an alleged incident at the previous council meeting in which council members and the mayor were in executive session when Jarvis allegedly verbally attacked Oliver for bringing an issue regarding another city employee.
Following Cook speaking and requesting that the people stand with Oliver at Tuesday’s meeting, residents in attendance clapped along with Cook to show that they were there to stand for Oliver.
Councilwoman Janet Edwards then suggested the council issue affidavits for the council members and city employees that were involved in the previous incident of alleged misconduct.
“There has been a lot of talk, inferences, innuendos and basically, a lot of gossip with no corroboration,” Edwards said. “I think that we are at the point where we need to get affidavits … I think they need to be signed affidavits, they need to be submitted to council and I think we need to get to the bottom of this, because there has been a lot of stuff thrown out that I don’t know if it’s true or not.
“But, I can tell you there’s opposing views. I’ve spoken to a couple of the people and nobody’s story matches up.”
Jeffrey shared that she believed the council did not need affidavits as the council as well as those who have attended council meetings have witnessed the same sort of alleged misconduct by either council members or city officials.
She continued to share that while this conduct has occurred previously, no one on the council has chosen to stand up against misconduct with the council’s support.
“So, we need to take a real long look at our own conduct and what we’ve allowed to happen and why we haven’t supported our council members when we should have,” Jeffrey said.
Councilwoman Jean Leavell shared that she is fed up with the council’s and city officials’ divisiveness and those involved need to be mature enough to talk to each other when an issue between parties presents itself.
“We’re all adults and it’s time for us to start acting like adults,” Leavell said.
Following the council discussing those misconduct-related issues in open session during the meeting, the council moved into a lengthy executive session to discuss issues between council members as well as city officials. However, no action was taken.
Prior to the issue of official misconduct, the council discussed the city’s Ethics Committee having trouble obtaining enough members to have a quorum to hold a meeting.
Jeffrey shared with the committee that it had been brought to her attention that since the Ethics Committee was formed some months ago, four ethics complaints had been filed, but had not been addressed by the Ethics Committee.
Jeffrey added that bringing the issue to city council is not a complaint against the Ethics Committee, but was instead intended to discuss how the council and city can better support the Ethics Committee to allow the committee to meet and address complaints.
Jeffrey and Cook then requested that the city consider finding alternate members to volunteer to serve on the Ethics Committee when the usual members are not able to meet.
Ethics Committee Member Jim Hurst then spoke to the council to clarify the issues the committee had been having. Hurst explained that all of the Ethics Committee members are committed to the committee and having meetings, but their work schedules had conflicted preventing meetings from being held.
Hurst also requested that the city find alternates to serve on the committee in the cases scheduling conflicts occur.
The council ultimately agreed and requested that the city post that it is searching for Oak Grove residents who care for the city and want to serve it, to volunteer as alternates for the committee.
If you are interested in serving on the Ethics Committee, you can contact Oak Grove City Hall at 270-439-4646.
Just before the council adjourned Tuesday night, Jeffrey announced that she would be resigning from her elected position on the council due to her being unable to work through the recent loss of her father and felt that it was unfair to continue to serve on the council without giving her best to the city’s residents.
“Unfortunately at this time, I am not willing or able to work through that grief,” Jeffrey said. “I do not believe that I have been able to meet my commitment to this city the way that I feel that I should based on the oath that I swore when I took office.
“I want to thank everyone for my time here. I will hold it dear for the rest of my life, but today, is my official announcement of resignation.”
Jeffrey added that she will continue to serve on the council until she can be officially replaced on council.
Jeffrey also thanked the citizens of Oak Grove for choosing her to represent them on the council.
“I hope that in the time that I have served as a city council member that I have been able to impart to everyone just what an honor it was for me,” Jeffrey said. “I see it as such a privilege to not only be elected, but through that election to feel trusted by those individuals who said ‘I want her, I want her to be my voice.’ ”
In other council news, the council voted unanimously to create a new committee focused on addressing the city’s parks. Leavell, Oliver and Edwards volunteered to serve on that parks committee.
Hopkinsville Chief Financial Officer Robert Martin presented the fiscal year 2020-21 budget review to the City Council as they met for their July meeting.
Donning his green money-print bowtie, signifying the city had a surplus budget according to Martin, he told the council that 5.43% of the budget went unspent.
He also expressed to the council that the budget surpassed his expectations considering the pandemic shutdowns.
Hopkinsville ends the fiscal year with $12.1 million in their available cash balance in the general fund.
“At this time last year, it was $8,317,000. So, we have done well,” Martin said.
Martin also said that the city collected 101.93% of their budgeted revenue.
Discussing payroll taxes, Martin said this year had been better than he expected. He added that the payroll taxes were lower than he had initially projected for the fiscal year but had a strong enough bounce towards the end of the year to keep the city on track with the previous year.
“May and June payroll taxes were strong enough that it pushed us over the prior year collections. Prior year collections was $16,466,000. So, we were about $170,000 more collections that what we were in the prior year.”
Shortages in the Fort Campbell Contracts Revenue, Recreation Program income, Planters Bank-Jennie Stuart Sportsplex income, PILOTS (HWEA and Solid Waste) and interest income were major contributors to the general fund revenue, Martin explained.
From the previous fiscal year, Martin said there was $382,049 from prior year encumbrances. From the prior year encumbrances, $58,588 was the amount unspent as of June 30, 2021, which Martin said he only reports once a year.
The Municipal Road fund, which the council has heard a lot about through the fiscal year, has a surplus balance of roughly $10,000.
He also added that a large part of the COVID-19 relief funding also remains unspent.
The council has proposed various ways to spend the funding including giving a portion to the Downtown REZ in previous meetings.
Martin also told the council that he will reappear in front of the council with recommendations for ideas of where the COVID-19 Relief Fund should be spent.
In other meeting news, Hopkinsville Mayor Wendell Lynch continued his celebration of Hopkinsville making it into the top 10 finalist for the T-Mobile “Hometown Techover”.
All 10 finalists will receive a $50,000 check to get started on city revamping projects.
Council also heard the second reading of the closure of East 11th Street between South Main and South Virginia Streets.
Councilmembers unanimously approved the partial street closure. They have not discussed or brought forth motions on how the closed street will be moved into private property.
Chico Ware, a resident of Hopkinsville, also addressed the council during the public comment section.
Ware told the council that it is their responsibility to protect the public when it comes to street speeds.
He said that someone could be killed as people race through the streets. Ware called upon the council to take action and make sure people are safe.
Hopkinsville City Council will meet Thursday night at 6 p.m. for July’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
The meeting will also be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page for those who do not want to attend in person.
WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, angrily confronted Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday in testimony on Capitol Hill, rejecting Paul's insinuation that the U.S. helped fund research at a Chinese lab that could have sparked the COVID-19 outbreak.
Paul suggested that Fauci had lied before Congress when in May he denied that the National Institutes of Health funded so-called “gain of function” research — the practice of enhancing a virus in a lab to study its potential impact in the real world — at a Wuhan virology lab. U.S. intelligence agencies are currently exploring theories that an accidental leak from that lab could have led to the global pandemic.
“I have not lied before Congress. I have never lied. Certainly not before Congress. Case closed,” Fauci told Paul before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, saying a study the senator mentioned referenced a different sort of virus entirely from the one responsible for the coronavirus outbreak.
“Senator Paul, you do not know what you’re talking about, quite frankly,” Fauci said. "And I want to say that officially. You do not know what you’re talking about.”
He added, “If anybody is lying here, senator, it is you.”
It was the latest in a series of clashes between Paul and Fauci over the origins of the virus that caused the global pandemic.
A Hopkinsville man was arrested on a warrant at around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday while at a home on Peppermint Drive for his involvement in a burglary that occurred in May, according to a Hopkinsville Police Department report.
The report states that Chad W. Love, 45, Hopkinsville, in complicity with Jerome Franklin, removed metal items valued at around $1,050 from a barn and property at Mt. Vernon Church Road, without the permission of the victim.
The victim had cameras surveilling the trail to his barn and recorded Love and Franklin removing the items. Love reportedly chased his truck to transport the stolen items, the report added.
Love was charged with third-degree burglary.
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