Wright said what constitutes outside employment “is an issue of semantics” and that the city charter may not be able to apply to circumstances in today’s society as it was adopted in 1929.
Craighead assured the citizens he takes his job as mayor very seriously and is not running another business on the side. He said he asked District Attorney General Tommy Thompson to thoroughly look into the matter.
“I know that I have not done anything wrong. I want to assure the citizens of Lebanon that I take the matter very seriously,” he said.
Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino drew applause from members of the crowd when he voiced his opinion. He said with all the meetings and business that Craighead does for the city, he doesn’t “see how he has time to run another business.”
“We need a policy if we are going to go down this road so we can say we’re going to do X, Y and Z,” Cesternino pointed out.
Ward 5 Councilor Haywood Barry said in general “we should never use our position of influence to gain anything, and I’m not talking about the mayor, I’m talking about all of us.”
Audience members engaged Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath about her comments during the WKRN news report in which she stated the mayor had a conflict of interest and was violating the city charter.
Warmath said people have attacked her for what she said in the news report and said people are becoming more outraged over her comments in reference to documents shown to her by News2 reporter Andy Cordan, than they are about the allegations.
“I’m going to comment on just what I see and that’s what happened,” Warmath said.
When audience members yelled and commented on Warmath’s explanation, Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Huddleston asked that the rules be suspended and after a quick vote, he called for anyone with an opinion in the audience to step up to the microphone.
No one chose to address the council at that point and the mayor moved on with the council’s regular business.
All ordinances and resolutions passed with little discussion until a line item transfer came up to vote that involved a $10 transfer for building inspection to cover travel expenses.
Cesternino has previously spoken about instituting a policy that would allow the mayor to sign off on transfers under a certain amount instead of having them all brought before the council.
“I feel like the first and third Tuesday of each month we’re just balancing the checkbook,” Cesternino said.
Buhler responded to Cesternino, referring to someone “riding in on their white horse” to save Lebanon, and told him to stop commenting on this and either vote yes or no.
“We have policies and they worked when I worked here,” Buhler said. The council is required to approve all line item transfers according to the city charter.
Warmath said that at the end of the fiscal year, the council sees many line item transfers that come up to balance budgets. During the rest of the year, she said they rarely saw these kinds of transfers.
“We can set policies until the world ends,” Warmath said, pointing out the mayor is supposed to enforce those policies. She has repeatedly spoken out against transfers coming to the council after the money has already been spent.
All ordinances and resolutions passed unanimously, including a resolution to erect a new sign honoring William D. Baird at the Baird Industrial Park in Lebanon. The former billboard sign was toppled by inclement weather and has not been replaced in many months.
Craighead said a sign will be placed as well as a plaque to honor Baird, which would be crafted as an Eagle Scout project by a local scout group.
Baird is a former mayor and state senator who was instrumental in locating what was the state’s first industrial park in Lebanon.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at email@example.com.