Seligman voters change mayor's mind at the polls

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Although Duane Corn, who has served as Seligman mayor for the past four years, did not file for candidacy in the April 2 municipal election, Seligman voters felt he deserved another term. Corn received 61 write-in votes during the election and won the office of mayor for a third term.

On April 9, after swearing in Corn, Danny Joe Hendrix, east ward alderman, and James Bottorff, west ward alderman, the Seligman City Council heard several complaints from concerned city residents.

George Pimentel addressed the council to discuss inconsistencies in code enforcement within the city. Pimentel asked the council if the city had researched its code ordinances before enacting them.

Around 10 years ago, the city conducted formal research by contacting several other cities before writing the current code ordinances, said Corn. The city is now working to make sure the ordinances are enforced consistently.

Pimentel also asked how zoning has been determined for property located in the city. Corn explained that a few years ago the entire city was surveyed and rezoned to correct some zoning mistakes that had existed since the city was originally zoned. Corn also explained that Pimentel could apply to have his property rezoned if he chose to.

Paul Johnson addressed the council to complain about the behavior of several city residents. According to Johnson, the residents have been driving and firing guns recklessly near his home.

Johnson asked the council to conduct a criminal investigation of the aldermen because of continuing problems. Johnson accused Jerry Greenlee, city police officer, of having a social relationship with the residents.

Johnson alleged that he has submitted written complaints to Greenlee that have not been recorded or forwarded to the aldermen.

During one incident, Johnson alleged a resident was using an all-terrain vehicle to harass children in the neighborhood.

The vehicle was impounded but Greenlee released it to another individual who presented documentation of ownership. Office Steve McClure said the police department could have held the vehicle until a judge ordered it released.

"We have submitted reports to that individual's probation officer who has submitted a statement asking for the revocation of his probation, which is pending," said Officer Ron Martin. "We now have three revocation statements pending. We are just waiting."

Corn assured Johnson that the city is currently investigating similar complaints. Martin said that the city could use more support from local residents who are willing to make complaints or give statements about the individuals who are causing problems.

"I've talked to one woman who was scared to give us a statement," said Martin. "We need people to make statements in order to get these guys.

"We understand your frustration. We're frustrated too," said Martin. "I'm here to do the best job I can for you, the council and the city. If we got more statements, we could act on some of the harassment."

The council recently hired another officer to make sure there is a law enforcement officer on duty at all hours, said Corn.

"We want it stopped," said Corn. "That is why we have three officers. We don't want our officers associating with these people at all. If they have a gun and they are a felon take them to jail. We're tired of it."

McClure approached the council in order to submit a letter, which included information about a city employee. The aldermen elected to enter executive session in order to review the letter.

During the closed session, Alderman Cynthia Galletly made a motion to place Greenlee back on probationary status.

Greenlee must attend mandatory law enforcement classes and complete six hours of training each week under the direction of McClure. The time period for the probation is subject to review by the council.

In other business, the Seligman City Council:

• Heard that Summer Fest will be held on June 16.

• Voted to purchase supplies for police, museum, library and community center signs that will be placed on the back side of the city hall facility. Bottorff volunteered to construct the letters for the signs.

• Approved an ordinance regarding utility service at uninhabitable residences.

• Accepted a $56,293.20 bid from Hutchens Construction for 990 tons of asphalt that will be used to repave Lightfoot, Stapleton, West Roller Ridge, Falver, Larimer and Maple streets, the north end of Walnut Street and Berry Avenue.

• Approved an ordinance regarding the city's policy and procedures for unpaid utility bills.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: