Special Miami County Commissioner’s Meeting was scheduled for December 28th, at 9:00 a.m.

This meeting was scheduled to tie up loose ends and finish business before the end of the year.  The first order of business was to approve claims 3-0. Payroll was approved 3-0. Approved December 17th Minutes 3-0. 

Approval of Kerry Worl as Highway Supervisor position to fill the vacancy left by Mike Sisson retiring which commences Monday passed 3-0. Kris Marks was reappointed as EMA Director 3-0.  Mike Greene was reappointed as Weights & Measures Inspector 3-0. Ken Eiseman reappointed as Highway Engineer 3-0. Jay Kendall was reappointed as Veterans Service Officer 3-0. 

Larry West advised that they don’t have a recommendation yet for the County Attorney. Mary Brown stated that she received a letter of interest from Steve Downs, she said that she told him that the interviews were already over with, but that she would pass his letter along. Larry West said that he received a similar inquiry from Dustin Kern, and told him that it was a little late this year, considering the one-year agreement, but if he was interested in the future to let them know then. 

They approved the final timesheet for Tammy Gamble and signed off on it.

The Commissioners then voted to approve the contract for the Purdue Extension Officer. An audience member questioned the amount and what it was for. Josh Francis explained that it was a contract services position that they pay $48,063.00 for every year that is budgeted, and that it covers one agent, and what they bring to the office. Mary Brown stated that they pay for one Extension Agent, and she wasn’t sure how it was divided up. Josh Francis confirmed that that was for the one Extension Agent and that they provide the services for 4-H. Larry West offered “For all the kids that enjoy 4-H, that’s not a lot of county money”. The vote was 3-0. 

The Health Department hired a replacement for Melanie Jackson, who is moving to the Clerk’s Office. The new replacement employee Melissa Saylors will require 24/7 access to the Annex. Larry West asked if Melissa was a registered nurse, and Mary Brown replied that she was a nurse for North Miami. Approved by a vote of 3-0. 

They had one board appointment that needed to be made because that board meets before the next Commissioner meeting. That appointment was the Dukes Hospital Healthcare board that Josh Francis currently serves on. Larry West volunteered to take that position. Larry West said that was the only one that he was aware of that needed to be assigned now, that the rest of them could be “divvied up at their first meeting” next year. 

Josh Francis said that the next item was the energy discussion and a selection was made for the Energy Savings Program. Josh Francis made it clear they weren’t paying out any money at this time, they were just selecting a vendor that was going to sit down with them and help them determine what projects need to get done, and at what priority. That there is no financial obligation at this point, they are just making the selection so that they don’t waste the time of any other companies looking at it. Larry West said he spent several days reviewing the information and that he was recommending Amaresco. Voted in 3-0. www.ameresco.com

Josh Francis asked if Larry West was still working on Library Stuff, and Larry West stated that he was meeting with Anna Jo McKaig on January 2nd to discuss some options and ideas.

Josh Francis asked if there was anything else they needed to talk about, and Larry West stated that he mentioned the van for the coroner, that the ambulance that they currently have does not work for a coroner, and that they’d like to sell that, with their eye on a van that Flowers Leedy has for sale, that has low miles, and that the coroner is actually currently using. That the cost of the van was set at $6,000.00. Larry West stated that the fire department was interested in buying back the ambulance, and Josh Francis said that he had several people expressing interest, so he will let them know that they need to come in and talk to the board about it. Larry West said that he also talked to them (Coroner’s Office) and that they were wanting their hot water hooked up and a lot of other miscellaneous things and that he’d be putting together a list to be accomplished, and they’ll see how much money they have. Larry West then added there are definitely some things they need to do, and the new generator hooked up that will back up the cooler in the morgue and the Health Department refrigeration for their vaccines. 

Mary Brown asked if they had talked to the elevator people. Larry West said that they had not yet, but he was going to that day. Apparently, the elevator at the courthouse was broken down again. Larry West stated the last time it broke down, he talked with the elevator people and they said it was because the brake was dragging on the old electronics and it overcoming it, but with the brake dragging was messing now with the new digital parts that are more sensitive, so they loosened the drag pressure off of the brake some. Larry West stated that either they didn’t loosen it enough, or something else is wrong. Larry said that the elevator people were fairly certain it was the brake causing the problem.

An audience member stated he wanted to make a couple of comments, and Josh Francis stated to him “Sir we aren’t taking any public comment today, This is just an end of the year business meeting”. The audience member said, “I was going to ask about the library”. Josh Francis responded he [Larry West] is still working on that one, that’s what I asked a minute ago, they’re still negotiating. Larry West stated that they have 2 council folks and himself working with the library. The gentleman audience member then asked if this was a yearly basis, and Larry West responded, so far it has been. Then someone from the audience asked, “How about Barnes and Thornberg, what’s going on out there”. Larry West said “Nothing, we told you the last time we would let you know if anything new was happening and so far there is nothing new.

Josh Francis then stated a motion to adjourn, to which another audience member said “No, Speaking of the last meeting… Mr. Francis lashed out at three people in the last meeting that being Charles & Donna Smith, and myself (Elaine Anderson)”.

At that point Josh Francis pushed the vote to adjourn the meeting, and Elaine Smith kept talking and I heard “with these words, you guys are a waste to Miami County, in addition on numerous occasions over the past year, you have referred to the Miami County Property Rights group derogatorily as *you people*”.

Larry West responded with a thank you to Josh Francis for his service, stating that people don’t realize how valuable he has been to the county.

The audience member by stating “While we are on History…I never thought I would get an education in history… umm there are several quotes… ‘The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belong to one category’ ‘The great masses of people will more easily fall victims to a big lie, than to a small one’ ‘What good fortunes for the government that the people do not think and just in case, Mr. Francis, you don’t know your history that’s Adolf Hitler."

At this point, Josh Francis had made it to the door and was leaving, and the audience member handed out a paper to the remaining members of the board of commissioners who were packing up their belongings. Larry West quickly wadded up the paper he was handed and threw it away in the trash can.

After another individual asked a bunch of questions, I did hear that the energy savings would be focusing on the Jail, that it is one of the biggest energy users of county buildings. That they will initially focus on the jail, but eventually it will be all county buildings. That they are hoping for energy savings.

We talked with Larry West and asked if that was the paper that the audience member handed to him, that he wadded up and threw away in the trash can, and he said it was. He confirmed that he had read it, and replied that it talked about wanting an apology out of Josh. Larry West then stated. “In Josh’s defense, that he had apologized to me for semi-blowing up, and I said Josh you were… you weren’t that far off, because you have been treated very very very poorly by these folks, they called him a liar, they called him many things, and he’s tolerated it… I thought Josh was treated very unfairly." 

Then Larry said that he told a couple of people that got mad at him, that "they should be thankful that Josh was working for RES, because had he not been, there probably would have been some windmills built in Miami County.” Larry West then explained that since Josh Francis was for the Windmill project, that he would have voted for them, but since he was working for RES he had to recuse himself, so he wasn’t able to vote.

Here is what the letter that was handed out said:  



At the previous Commissioners’ meeting on Monday, December 17th, you, Mr. Francis, lashed out at three people, those being Charles & Donna Smith and myself (Elaine Anderson), with these words, “You guys are a waste to Miami County”. In addition, on numerous occasions over the past year, you have referred to the Miami County Property Rights group derogatorily as “you people”. 

This is behavior that an elected official should never exhibit. Regardless of disagreements during the past year over Miami County property rights issues and the county highway garage project, it is expected that you should treat your constituents with respect and dignity.

A public apology is in order to Charles & Donna Smith, myself, and the people of Miami County.

Thank You,

Elaine Anderson