Seligman mayor out

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Following a Feb. 8 altercation between Mayor Jason Raucstadt, Seligman Police Chief Gary Thornton, Seligman Patrol Officer Chris Hutson and City Clerk Brian Nichols, Seligman aldermen took action in an emergency meeting that took place in the early morning hours of Feb. 9.

According to the minutes of the Feb. 9 meeting, Raucstadt had been driving around the city of Seligman while intoxicated, cursing the threatening violence against Alderman Eric Freeman, Hutson and Nichols. Law enforcement officials from the Barry County Sheriff's Office were called to take reports of the threats and intoxicated driving reports.

Aldermen took immediate action to dismiss Raucstadt from his position as acting maintenance supervisor and suspend all benefits associated with the position.

During the 10-minute emergency meeting, aldermen appointed Nichols as acting maintenance supervisor for a minimum of two months, at which time, his performance will be evaluated by the council.

Aldermen also took steps prohibiting the person serving as mayor or aldermen to provide paid services to the city above and beyond mayoral duties.

Finally, aldermen approved changing the locks on city buildings.

During the regular meeting on Feb. 13, aldermen approved paying Raucstadt all sick, personal and vacation time accrued upon return of the city keys, cell phone and credit card.

Raucstadt entered the meeting at 6:52 p.m. and submitted his letter of resignation, which was approved by the aldermen.

The council also changed some key positions in the city employee hierarchy.

The maintenance supervisor is now a 40-hour per week position that pays $16 per hour. Aldermen voted to create a 40-hour per week city administrator position at a rate of $15.50 per hour and changed the police chief's schedule to 45 hours a week at $15.50 per hour.

Freeman, who was serving as mayor pro tem, will serve as mayor until the April 2 election or until another candidate can be appointed.

In other business, James Burnett approached aldermen with a resolution to Amend 417, a Constitutional amendment in which the United States Supreme Court equated corporations with individual personhood and corporate money to freedom of speech in regards to political campaigns. The Amend 417 movement calls to abolish corporate personhood and re-establish that only people are entitled to inalienable constitutional rights, money is not free speech and regulating political contributions is not equivalent to limiting free speech.

Aldermen plan to approve the resolution at the March 12 meeting.

In the public works report, two new lift station motors need to be ordered, with one to be installed immediately. The other will serve as a back-up unit. Employees will also rebuild the existing two motors and keep them in reserve for emergencies.

The park committee is seeking donations for a splash pad. According to Nichols, the city has approved the purchase of equipment from Rain Deck, a supplier of water play products. Aldermen have approved project costs in the amount of $7,724, which will provide for 24 jets on a 30-foot splash circle.

Fees paid to the municipal court will now be processed through nCourt, a cost-free service. Nichols said the provider will offer better service and simplify payment processing for both the court and water department.

The next regular meeting of the Seligman City council will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 at Seligman City Hall.

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