Stanford man accuses mayor of improper, illegal behavior

Published 12:33 pm Thursday, October 12, 2017

STANFORD – The “citizen comments” portion of the Stanford City Council’s public meeting last week brought forth several accusations of improper and illegal behavior by the mayor. 

Jim Jarrett, a Stanford resident and Planning and Zoning Commissioner, addressed the city council last Thursday during the regular October meeting with a list of accusations before calling for the mayor’s resignation. 

Among Jarrett’s list were several instances during which he said the mayor acted improperly or illegally, including: directing city employees to enforce ordinances against some residents and not others; instructing city employees not to speak during council meetings; telling certain business owners they do not need a city license and wrongly informing people they do not need a permit approved by the planning and zoning commission. 

Jarrett also accused the mayor of changing minutes from city council meetings and costing taxpayers by causing a mistrial in a city property court case. The mayor responded during a telephone interview this week. 

Mayor responds 

Mayor Eddie Carter said he admits he made an honest mistake when he appointed Jerry Gooch to the planning and zoning commission without seeking the council’s approval first. 

“I did make a mistake, unintentional,” he said. “There are 20-something boards, half of them you have to have council approval and have of them you don’t. I made an honest mistake.” 

When the issue was realized, Carter said he brought the decision back to the city council and recommended Gooch for the appointment. The council voted down the recommendation and instead appointed Jarrett. 

Aside from that instance, Carter said the other accusations made by Jarrett are unfounded. 

“It seems like he has just got it in for me for no reason,” he said. 

Jarrett also accused the mayor of loaning city equipment to contractors working at Logan’s Fort and allowing contractors to live in the Ice House building while continuing to work on the fort. Jarrett cited city ordinance 39.18, which states, “No officer or employee of the city shall use or permit the use of any city time, funds, equipment or other personal or real property for the private use of any person unless (1) the use is specifically authorized by a stated city policy or (2) the use is available to the general public…” 

He also cited planning and zoning ordinance 152.257 which states, “No land or buildings or part thereof hereafter erected or altered in its use or structure shall be used until the administrative/enforcement officer shall have issued a certificate of occupancy…” 

Carter confirmed Wednesday this week that contractors were using city equipment and have been permitted to stay at the property known as the Ice House. 

“Yeah, they’re staying out there, sure,” Carter said. “We’re letting them to keep the price down. That’s our property, that’s our fort. We have a right to use a tractor out there. We mow it out there.” 

Jarrett’s also stated that there are five inoperable vehicles in the city hall parking lot, “leaving no room for citizens needing to visit city hall” and that it’s a violation of city ordinance 92.03 (H) which states motor vehicles in an inoperative condition, unfit for use, automobile parts or scrap metal within city limits except on premises authorized by the city for such purposes are a public nuisance. 

As far as Carter’s personal city property and business, he said he has two business licenses and the vehicles located on his property are in compliance with city code. 

“I’ve been in business for 30-something years here, have two business licenses. I’ve got a right to have those vehicles outside. I hauled several away that wouldn’t run. I know I need to be in compliance if anybody does but I’ve been in business a long time in this town and I’m compliant.” 

Carter denied the accusation that he has instructed city employees not to speak during council meetings but agreed that the city is behind as far as keeping the city’s comprehensive plan and ordinances updated – both are required to be updated every five years, according to Jarrett. 

In the last year, the city applied for a grant to help cover the cost of updating but did not receive it, Carter said. 

“We’re right now in the process of going on and Bluegrass ADD is going to do the goals and objectives for us to get us started and then the council will decide,” he said. “There’s two different ways we can do it, one costs $15,000 and the other costs $25,000 but we’re moving forward with it. 

Carter says he takes partial blame for the outdated ordinances and plan but it’s something he and the city council have been working on over the last year. 

Carter said he’s given over 20 years of his life to Stanford city government. 

“The place to vote me out, if I do run again, is at the ballot box,” Carter said. “Trying to get me to resign over something that I have not done intentionally…I’m not above making an honest mistake. No one is perfect in this world.” 

In other business, the city council: 

• Discussed annexing several properties along U.S. 27 past the Lincoln County High School. Carter said the council will discuss the topic further during next month’s meeting. 

• Voted to authorize City Attorney Christopher Reed to negotiate with the county on an inter-local agreement regarding water meter fees for Bluegrass 911 funding.