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Belle Center meeting turns sour

Argument over new hire pits mayor, councilwoman against one another

The Belle Center Village Council meeting ended on a sour note Tuesday evening after a shouting match erupted between Mayor Rhonda Fulmer and Councilwoman Dee McIntosh.

The issue at hand was the hiring of a new full-time employee — or more to the point of the argument — who gets to name who that individual will be.

After recent meetings of the finance and enterprise committees, village officials began soliciting applications for a third full-time employee, whose $11 an hour wage would be paid by consolidating a part-time position, a mowing contract and other revenue sources. The goal is to hire an employee that can be trained as a Class I water operator to take over the operation of village utilities as aging employees consider retirement.

Village Solicitor Steve Fansler said at the meeting the best way to create and fill a new position would be for council to pass a resolution declaring the need for a new employee, allow Village Administrator Gerald Houchin to select an employee he felt would be a good match for his department and Mayor Fulmer would have ultimate approval power.

The mayor, who solicited help from the Logan County Department of Job and Family Services in getting applications for a potential employee, indicated she did not want Mr. Houchin making the selection alone and said she would “drag her feet” on the selection if she felt the candidate lacked “credentials.”

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