A meeting of the Cumberland City Council saw tempers flare Tuesday during the panel’s regular meeting. During his report, Maintenance Supervisor Frank Ross addressed the council with some concerns about a recent ditch project that was undertaken by his department.
“This ditch project, if it has been a problem to this city or this council or if I have went about it in the wrong way, then I apologize,” said Ross. “It appears to me that some on this council have spent more time complaining, harassing and slandering me about how this project has been done than the time they have spent in the last 10 years trying to figure out a solution to this problem.”
Ross then begin to address issues from the minutes of previous meetings.
“Carolyn Elliott said ‘why in the world would you clean out a shed for tourism.’ My answer to that is to put the Christmas decorations away. That has been the responsibility of the maintenance department for over 20 years,” said Ross.
Ross said the council had also commented there were manholes that were open and needed to be worked on. Ross did not dispute this, but asked where was the funding for him to do the work.
“David Dixon asked ‘do we not salt the streets of Cumberland or push the snow off the roads or out of the way.’ The answer to that is we have already used $3,400 worth of salt this year,” said Ross. “Dixon also stated that he has watched people pull up their vehicle and get salt. My thought is if Mr. Dixon is an elected official in this city, why has he not called the city police if he has witnessed theft of city property? Why did he not at least take pictures like he has of the maintenance workers while they are trying to do their jobs?”
At this point, several council members spoke up claiming Ross was personally attacking council members.
“If you’ve got some city business we’ll listen to it,” said council member Charles Raleigh. “This is jumping on council members.”
Several minutes of heated discussion followed involving Ross, council members, Mayor Carl Hatfield and some members of the audience.
As tempers simmered down, council members addressed Ross.
“You’re taking things personally,” said Elliott.
Raleigh said the council had not attacked Ross personally, and any questions about the maintenance department had been directed at Hatfield.
Ross disagreed, claiming the council had personally attacked him in previous meetings.
“Nobody on this council has ever said Mr. Ross does such and such,” said Elliott. “Our complaints are with how the mayor handles some things. It’s never been with you.”
After a few more minutes of discussion, the council moved on to other business.
“We’re not accomplishing anything here,” said council member Ron Jarvis.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, email@example.com