Controversy surfaced Monday evening at Grantsville's Town Council meeting with at least three councilwomen questioning Mayor Gary Knight why a city employee was not dismissed after a 3-2 vote in January.

Councilwoman JoAnn Shock, who said she had sought legal advice, stated "The Mayor went beyond his power" when he rehired Junior Dueley after last month's council meeting. Dueley was hired to work part-time for the Sewage Department, but "then transferred himself to the Water Department," she said.

Shock said the Mayor told her "we no longer needed this person," and he would take care of it.

Councilwoman Jane Wease said "I feel proper procedure needs to be followed.

Mayor Knight said he felt is was his legal right to re-hire Dueley. "I saw fit to leave him on. If I'm told only council can hire and fire, I'll comply and apologize for what I've done," he said.

Knight said he felt is was inappropriate the way council dismissed Dueley. "I felt department heads should process such problems."

Councilwoman Marguerite Bassnet said the Mayor approached council members in December and wanted to fire Dueley. "You wanted Jr. out and you were tickled to death when we agreed," she said. Knight said he changed his mind after hearing the Water Department's need for an extra employee, and "proper procedure needed to be followed. You don't just fire a man because he doesn't need the money," alluding to a statement made by a council member.

Councilwoman Shock said if the Council does not have the power to hire and fire, "What is council's purpose?" She said "Such jobs need to be posted."

The town's 28-year employee Bonnie Bird, was asked by Mayor Knight who has done the hiring and firing over the years in Grantsville? She said several mayors had assumed the responsibility. It hasn't been until recent years that Council has taken on the decision making.

Knight said he was unhappy with some Council members who "have berated city employees." Councilwomen Shock, Cain and Basnett voted to fire Deuley, with Councilwoman Wease and Councilman Collins voting to retain him. Councilman Ambros "Jerry" Collins has now resigned.

Mayor Knight advised Council members who voted themselves a small pay raise they would not be receiving it. He said it is not legal. Members currently receive $20 a meeting.

Knight told council members he was proud of his record as Mayor, particularly that the town is now in the black.

"I told you (Shock) and Jerry (Collins) you would step over the lines. I'm not going to attorneys first." he said. "I hope we can get along. It is not my fault you didn't get a raise," although he felt council members needed one after 30 years.

Knight said he puts time and effort into the welfare of the town, being productive. Shock said she only wants to follow the law.

During much of the meeting, discussion focused on a problem regarding the parking of an semi-truck on the west end of Main Street near the owner's residence. Police Chief Charles McCroskey had brought citizen complaints to the council regarding the truck, stating it is a traffic safety problem. Council then passed an ordinance restricting several parking spaces occupied by the truck.

The owner advised council "If something happens with the truck, the town will pay for it." During Monday evenings meeting it seemed unclear exactly what kind of hazard existed, after which Mayor Knight said "If there is not a safety hazard. there is not a problem," after which he asked council to rescind their earlier decision, but no action was taken.

Several complaints were expressed by citizens because of water bills going up. One resident said his bill had gone from about $50 to over $80 a month for his small family. He was advised the town will continue checking on the matter.

Other complaints were verbalized regarding speeding, but a recent study showed most motorists were maintaining a relatively safe speed. Citizens at the meeting said some logging trucks roll through town at speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour.

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