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Sun, Jul 23, 2017 09:36 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Fraud claim highlights Inez commission meet
Rift between mayor, former clerk and commission continues to dominate city business meetings
by Lilly Adkins

INEZ — The Inez City Commission went into executive session during last Thursday’s regular meeting to discuss alleged fraud regarding an unemployment insurance claim.

“In executive session, it was discussed that a possible fraudulent claim was made and supposedly this was made on an unemployment claim and the city mentioned we should have a vote whether to proceed on this matter,” Mayor Rick Penix said following the closed-door session.

Penix asked for a motion as to whether the commission wanted to proceed on the claim. The motion was made by Commissioner Ann Maynard and seconded by Commissioner Willie Sparks, with Commissioners Winnie Muncy and Charlotte Endicott voting in favor. Penix voted against the motion.

“I cannot release the paperwork, but I can assure you that it was fixed so that it would never reach the Inez City Commission...it was misdirected,” Maynard said. “Therefore, it was never given the opportunity to reply to it, accept one person.”

“That is not true,” Penix responded.

City clerk/treasurer Candy Crum told the commission that she had replied to a letter from the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet which said the agency had received the payment but no report for a delinquent K-1 for July 2002. The cabinet advised the commission that there would be a penalty of $124.69. Crum said that she had prepared the delinquent K-3 that was due in December 2002 and sent it in but that there was a penalty and she didn’t yet know how much it would be.

“We’ve already paid August, September, October, and we probably won’t have a penalty for November, although I had to do that, too,” Crum said. “I also have the reconciliation reports.”

Crum informed the commission that two checks from the road fund that had been written Jan. 9 had not been returned from the bank and that she was unable to locate them.

One check was for fuel to the Inez Pump and Shop in the amount of $241.41 and the other was to John Deere for the lawn mower payment in the amount of $132.02.

Crum also told the commission that two other checks written in January from the city’s general fund had also not cleared the bank. One of the checks was written to City Attorney Tom Hardin for his retainer fee and the other to John Crum for rent on the commission’s former office space.

Crum informed the commission that it still owed money to PVA Tim Robinson’s office for 2001 and 2002. She said that 2000 was paid.

Crum said that she had gotten a letter from the Department For Local Government about the uniformed financial report. The report was found in the city files with “important” written on it and had not been mailed. The city’s road aid money has been suspended pending the receipt of the report.

The commission voted to hire Wells and Company to take care of the financial report for 2001 and 2002.

Crum informed the commission that Penix had submitted paperwork June 10 to get the COPS grant monies reinstated.

Penix told the commission that once the reports were processed, he thought the city would be able to obtain more funding for officers.

“I’ve dealt with them before, and all it takes is a letter to get reinstated,” Penix said. “When I first became mayor, the grant was long gone. It just takes some communications.”

“So, we’ll get another check in July?” Crum asked.

“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Penix said.

Crum informed Penix that there were no documents regarding the COPS grant in the office and that was why the request for paperwork was made.

“I have a copy of all of the paperwork,” Penix said.

“Do you think you could provide copies for city hall?” Maynard asked.

“You will have a copy of all of it,” Penix said. “I thought you already had it.”

In other business, the commission voted to allow Crum to attend a class for clerks to help her understand how to improve upon the job she was currently doing for the city. The cost of the class is $65.

Crum informed the commission that the voters list needed to be updated because it hadn’t been done for some time and that she was trying to get a map drawn up showing where residents live because of the problems during the general election. She recommended that the list be inspected during a special meeting because it would take a long time to look over it and figure out which ones were still there and who should be added.

The commission agreed that it needed to get a budget approved by June 30, and set a special meeting for June 18 in order to have a workshop beginning at 6 p.m. That will be followed by the special meeting at 7p.m. for the first reading. The second reading is scheduled for Thursday June 19, at 7 p.m.

“There’s no way we can run the way we have been,” Maynard said. “We’re not supposed to alter our salary in any way, but there is no way we can get through to the next year if we stay at the same rate...not with the money coming in. The revenues have been over-inflated and the expenditures have way exceeded the revenue.”

During open discussion, Crum explained that a new daycare business would be moving into town and asked if Penix would draft a letter pertaining to zoning laws. Penix agreed.

Also Thursday:

• Maynard asked that the commission reimburse Joe Muncy for one tank of gas per week because he had been picking up jail workers and transporting them to Martin County since the city’s Jeep was stolen. The commission agreed unanimously to do that until he no longer did the transporting.

• Police Chief Mitchell Williamson told the commission that he had written a thank-you letter to NetCare Ambulance Service owner Terry Fraley and his wife Toni for the contribution of two radios they had donated after a chase through town when one officer couldn’t be contacted because he didn’t have a radio.

• Near the end of the meeting, former Clerk Sheila Hardin, who has sued the commission, asked the commission whether the city’s insurance would pay for an attorney and whether commissioners had voted to let the city pay for legal fees.

Hardin wasn’t recognized by Penix earlier in the meeting but asked the questions again.

“So, you guys will not disclose what the city has done with taxpayers’ LGEA funds?” Hardin asked.

“What are you talking about?” Maynard said.

“I asked about insurance coverage, legal bills, attorney bills,” Hardin said.

“Do you see on the list of bills an attorney in there?” Maynard asked.

“I just asked,” Hardin said.

“Well, ask your boyfriend. He’s got a list,” Maynard said.

“Keep this on a professional basis,” Penix said.

Hardin persisted and asked whether they were going to answer the question. Maynard told her to wait until she finished playing a tape (pertaining to sick leave and comp time) and she could ask all the questions she wanted, but Hardin left.

• Maynard produced two notes that she said was in the former city clerk’s handwriting, saying she wanted to have them put into the record.

“The first note said, ‘Does MC know he picked money up behind the courthouse?’” Maynard said.

“It’s not important,” Penix said.

“I’m putting it into the minutes of this meeting,” Maynard said. “I have another one, and it’s obviously tallying up some results of a vote from an election and there is two stars...three stars and then in her handwriting, ‘Have Tonya put me in lower Inez.’ So obviously we are having some electioneering talk going on here between one office and another between two clerks.”

A motion was made by Maynard to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded by Muncy with all in favor.

“Thank you for a pleasant evening, I’ve enjoyed it,” Penix said. “And it’s nice to be back, by the way.”

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