During the last few minutes of Nebo City Commission’s regular meeting Monday, the commissioners voted for the city clerk’s resignation.
Earlier in the meeting, Commissioner Jackie “Ace” Pierce said the clerk, Pat Vincent, for several months hadn’t filed reports regarding road aid to the Department of Local Government.
Vincent told the commission she was working on the reports and had submitted reports for 2017-18 and 2018-19. She was currently working on a financial statement and was trying to learn what format the DLG wanted the paperwork in before submitting, she added.
“You’ve got to do certain things a certain way, and I’m pulling every record that I’ve got to pull it together,” she said.
Pierce said Vincent needed to file the reports as soon as possible, or the commission would get someone to replace her.
The commission asked her to set a firm deadline for the DLG submission. A second deadline was requested for submitting paperwork to the Secretary of State for an annexation that the commission passed earlier in the year regarding property owned by the mayor.
Vincent agreed to a July 13 deadline for the annexation paperwork and a July 20 deadline for the DLG reports.
A few moments after this interaction, Vincent asked the commission for $300 for training with the Kentucky League of Cities during its 2020 Virtual Kentucky Municipal Clerks Institute.
Commissioner David Lear offered Vincent an incentive to meet her deadlines. If she could reach them, the city would pay for the training, and if she did not, she would pay the city back. The commission approved the quid per quo.
Then, the last item of new business was brought up by Commissioner James Kelley. He asked for a motion for Vincent’s resignation.
Commissioner David Lear said during the discussion that he felt like they had taken steps forward as a city with Vincent.
With a quorum of four commissioners out of five present, the vote came up. It passed with three yea votes (Mayor Karen Lantrip, James Kelley and Jackie Pierce) to one nay (David Lear). Jonathan Parish was absent. In a mayor-commission form of government, “the mayor serves, participates and votes as a member of the city commission,” according to the KLC website.
Immediately after the motion for Vincent to submit her resignation passed, Lantrip said, “This is going to change everything.”
Then Lantrip asked Nebo resident, Christina Menser, who said she planned to run for a commissioner’s seat in the fall as a write-in, to be the clerk for Nebo. Menser accepted.
Later, Menser told The Messenger she felt ambushed.
Lear said he felt like the decision happened a bit too quick.
“I felt like there were probably other avenues we could have taken,” he said. “A large portion of the meeting was getting (Vincent) to commit to a deadline for some of the reports. That was their biggest complaint, and we spent a large part of the meeting getting her to commit to those deadlines, just to end the meeting with asking for her resignation.”
The issues between the commission and Vincent have risen over the last six months, said Lear.
“There’s been some turmoil and pain,” he said.
Following the meeting, Vincent said the commission asking for her resignation was an illegal procedure. According to the director of municipal law at the Kentucky League of Cities Morgain Patterson, the city clerk is a non-elected office under Kentucky Revised Statutes 83A.080.
“It’s at will and subject to removal by the executive in a commission form of government,” she said. “In a city commission form of government, the mayor and the commission share executive and legislative authority,” citing KRS 83A.140.
Patterson said one of the statutes requires the governing body to supply a written reason for termination. When asked, Lantrip said she was working on it and would release it soon. She said one was of the reasons was Vincent’s neglecting duties in filing reports.
Lantrip, after the meeting, said the non-filled paperwork caused a blockage of funds for the community worth $39,420. According to Vincent, that number is less than $15,000.
Vincent said she has been working to repair problems that had persisted in Nebo for more than 30 years. She said she was working to correct those issues, and her reports were almost finished.
On Tuesday, Vincent said she is unsure if she’ll tender her resignation or appeal to the decision.
In other Nebo news
• Passed a motion to allow the homeschool group, Ironclad Co-op, to continue to use the community center beginning in September, which is subject to change per the status of COVID-19 guidelines.
• Heard a report of their new farmers market, which has been open for three weeks. Currently, the market has four vendors and looks to add between four to five more. They meet at Nebo’s city park between 8 a.m. and noon each Saturday.