Last Monday’s regularly scheduled Frankford Town Council meeting was all but regular, with an appearance by Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader and Council President Jesse Truitt announcing he would be stepping down as council president.
“I’ve just been doing it for 24 years. It’s time for someone else to learn how to do it,” said Truitt in response to a question as to why he was stepping down. “I’m gonna finish out my term.”
Truitt’s decision comes after a hectic couple of months for the town council as they have moved to implement a pension program for Town employees — one of whom is Truitt’s wife, Town Clerk Terry Truitt.
Throughout the process, some residents have accused the Truitts of nepotism on different issues. Schrader offered his legal opinion during the July 7 meeting to clear up one of those concerns. Some residents had expressed concerns that, when the related town charter change was voted upon by the council, it wasn’t done legally, because they only had two votes, with Jesse Truitt abstaining since the vote would impact his wife, Terry.
“If you have a quorum, it’s the majority of the quorum,” explained Schrader of the legality of the matter. “Somewhere out there, there’s some misunderstanding of how the charter gets changed.” He went on to note that no final decision on the matter of the pension plan has yet been made.
After the content of the meeting shifted to be more like an open forum, Schrader reminded the residents that the regularly scheduled meeting of the council is a public meeting, not a public hearing and that residents were not permitted to go over their allotted three-minute time restriction for asking questions.
“This is a public hearing. This is not a public meeting,” said Schrader, struggling to maintain order.
While discussion continued amongst residents unsatisfied with the answers they’d been given, the council decided to table the decision of whether or not council Vice President Joanne Bacon would step in as president. Councilman Charles Shelton motioned that Bacon take over at the council meeting.
“I think that since the president stepped down, the vice president should step in,” Shelton suggested. “That’s my vote. We might not have enough to vote here in August.”
“I agree with Charles,” added Secretary/Treasurer Cheryl Workman. “I think the next person in line should be Joanne.”
Despite her fellow council members’ views on the matter, Bacon asserted that she would like to think about the decision.
“I, myself, would like a little bit more time to review before I accept it,” said Bacon. “If I’m not given that time, then I would decline.”
Councilwoman Pam Davis was not present at the July 7 meeting.
The next regularly scheduled town council meeting will be on Monday, Aug. 4, at 7 p.m.