Mayor pleads for forgiveness
OVILLA - While opening up the Monday, Dec. 12 council meeting, Mayor Bill Vansyckle addressed the crowd with an apology for his recent actions within the city.
“I apologize for my recent actions to each of you, I learned greatly from the mistakes I made and pledge to never do this again.”
The mistakes referenced stemmed from a series of ethics complaints brought to Vansyckle by City Administrator Randy Whiteman.
During the Monday, Nov. 28 council meeting, the council decided Vansyckle had made the following offenses: overstepping his authority when he told Whiteman to suspend removal of City Prosecutor Rodney Ramsey, acting to fax Ramsey a letter of suspension and then personally delivering the doctored complaint showing bias against Whiteman, failure to deliver a conflict of interest or excuse himself from the complaint process even though he had participated with Ramsey in filing the complainant and demonstrating his abuse of power when he went to City Secretary Pam Higgins ordering her to allow him to view Whitman’s social security number violating Whiteman’s right to privacy.
Before council convened into closed session to discuss punishment, Mayor Pro Tem Tom Leverentz said the city attorney, Tom Sralla, e-mailed the city in response to what the council was allowed to do for punishment.
“The attorney e-mail says because of changes in law, the council cannot terminate the mayor’s position,” said Leverentz.
After being said, council went into closed session for deliberations.
When the meeting re-adjourned at 10:07 p.m., Place 5 Councilman Richard Dormier made the motion for the following: reprimand the mayor for exceeding his authority, reprimand the mayor for micro-managing and reprimand the mayor for not removing himself in regards to the release of Ramsey with a second by Place 4 Councilman Doug Hunt.
Motion passed unanimously with Place 2 Councilman Michael Dickey still in the hospital due to a motorcycle crash.
Also during the motion, new changes for all elected officials were implemented. From now on, all elected officials for the city will have limited access to city hall. Only during operational hours should an elected official be inside conducting city business and in efforts to supervise, officials will now have to sign in and out with a reason for each visit in a log book to be presented to council each meeting.
No elected official is to have a key or pass code to city offices and in case of emergency or after hours, only a police or fire personnel will be allowed to escort them on city property. Finally, all city business will be conducted only on city e-mail and the city secretary is to keep passwords to all elected officials accounts effective immediately.