Like lights being turned on in a messy kitchen, Councilmen scattered once the City of McLeansboro’s second special meeting in a week adjourned Tuesday afternoon.
It took that second meeting to get action from the six alderman which came after a nearly 45 minute Executive Session; a second meeting that potentially could’ve been avoided had the alderman acted what some call appropriately during the first meeting. Only after public outcry and demand for justice did the Tuesday meeting get called.
Because of the subject matter involved, the tight lipped-ness of decision makers and rampant speculation, we’ll try to provide you with the information you need to know pointing out when it’s speculation. With that, here’s what we know:
- The City of McLeansboro officially placed Power Plant Technician and Light Superintendent for the City, James Joiner on unpaid administrative leave immediately pending further investigation for the alleged theft of city property. The motion was made by Alderman Don Cox.
- The City moved to officially suspend all business dealings and transactions with the following businesses: Universal, LLC, SourceOne, and LD Supply, and Universal Incorporated.
- Prior to the Executive Session, Alerman-Elect Dale Biggerstaff implored Mayor Dick Deitz to invite both he and Billy Glenn to remain in the boardroom for the executive session. Biggerstaff said that he felt he and Glenn (who will officially take their place on the Council at the May 14th meeting) should be included as the actions heretofore will affect how they govern once seated. The Mayor declined to make that invitation, instead only inviting Deputy Clerk Cindy Inboden to remain. Inboden directs human resources, accounts payable, and assists with collecting of payments from utility billings for McLeansboro.
- McLeansboro resident John Scattone addressed council prior to Executive Session saying, “I wanna say this; it deals directly with executive sessions. It’s within your legal rights, but it stinks to high heaven. I can’t imagine what you have to talk about that the public doesn’t deserve to hear. Those are the folks that elected you and they’ll have the chance again. I think they should have access.”
Here’s what we think we know, have heard from reliable sources and/or is otherwise “alleged” at this point:
- The city originally called a special meeting on Tuesday, April 23rd. And at that meeting, it was allegedly discussed that Joiner had purportedly stolen or taken advantage of somewhere in the neighborhood of $123,000 worth of equipment, tools and chemicals over 3 years time. We’ve been told Alderman Don Cox moved to terminate the individual immediately, but no second was made. It’s also popular speculation that the city had hired an investigator who allegedly provided the council with 60 or more pages worth of documents. One alderman and the mayor allegedly followed that up by saying they didn’t feel there was enough evidence. It’s also being speculated that Joiner isn’t alone in alleged wrongdoing.
At this point, it’s where we’re at. There will certainly be more on this story as it develops and we’ll have it covered. We reached out to Mr. Joiner for comment and he has not responded. We also anticipate filing multiple Freedom of Information Act requests in relation to our ongoing coverage.