“This is a very sad night for us. A very serious time. We do not take this lightly. …” said Mayor Hardman.
In a special session of the Waynesville Council on July 9, the City Council unanimously approved resolution # 2018-0012, a resolution suspending mutual aid with the City of Dixon's current mayor and city administration team.
The resolution states, ”The City Council of Waynesville fully endorses and supports the suspension of its mutual aid efforts with the City of Dixon based on the current leadership of that city.”
The resolution further states that “the City Administrator or designated representative is authorized to turn over all documents and cooperate fully with the Prosecuting Attorney and /or the Missouri State Highway Patrol in assisting efforts to answer questions regarding potential corruption and fraud in the City of Dixon.”
After approval of the consent agenda and role call, the special session began.
Present at the meeting were Mayor Luge Hardman, Councilman Clarence Liberty, Councilman Ed Conley, Councilman Mike France, Councilman Alan Clark, Councilman Jerry Brown, Councilman Sheryl Folkert, Councilman Michael Curtis and Councilman Cecil Davis.
Waynesville had been providing mutual aid to the City of Dixon since January 2018.
In an April update on mutual aid assistance, City Administrator Bruce Harrill wrote that he noticed areas of concern while working on the mutual aid agreement.
Some of the areas noted were: concerns regarding completeness and billing accuracy, financial management, and water and sewer issues.
The City of Waynesville notified the City of Dixon of the areas of concern and recommended actions for addressing the concerns.
Harrill also stated in the April update that the issues were ultimately the responsibility of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. He said, “It is very important to us that we protect the reputation of the City of Waynesville and we will not continue to participate in mutual aid if there are moral, legal,and ethical issues that are not being addressed.”
At the meeting’s opening remarks, Mayor Hardman said, “This is a very sad night for us. A very serious time. We do not take this lightly. …”
Mayor Hardman stated, “The current mayor and administration have not cooperated with our efforts at all. In fact, they have been publicly and verbally abusive…. Mutual aid should be mutual and this relationship is not mutual. Throughout this relationship, we have observed unethical and unprofessional behavior, and frankly, on my part, unbelievable behavior.”
Mayor Hardman said many former members of the City of Dixon Board of Aldermen and city residents have expressed their support and appreciation for Waynesville’ s mutual aid efforts including former Mayor Shawn Wethington.
Harrill talked about some of the allegations made by City of Dixon.
The City of Waynesville was accused of charging the City of Dixon for the options and help they provided to fix a leak under Highway 28.
Harrill said, “We [the City of Waynesville] have not requested or received any reimbursements from the City of Dixon.”
Harrill said he had explained that to Mayor Brown. Harrill said, “I believe he [Brown] has severely misrepresented us [the City of Waynesville] to the City of Dixon and their citizens.”
Why has Waynesville decided to suspend mutual aid now? Harrill said, “It's an unusual situation and we aren't very happy. Why now? We need to protect the City of Waynesville and our employees….”
Mayor Hardman said, “The City of Waynesville is not looking for an apology from anybody. The citizens of Dixon will have to implement and demand the changes that are needed. I am hopeful for my friends in Dixon that bringing these issues to light will help you take control of your city again.”
Following these statement citizens, former Dixon Aldermen, and Mayors and Waynesville City Councilmen were given the opportunity to comment.
Betty Thilges, Dixon Mayor Pro-Tem stated, “I sincerely apologize for any problems that may harm the friendship between our communities and particularly our citizens.” Speaking as an individual citizen, she hoped the City of Waynesville would continue maintaining the mutual aid agreement.
Former Mayor Quentin Davis also asked the City of Waynesville not to end the mutual aid agreement.
However, the City Council unanimously voted to suspend the mutual aid agreement between the City of Waynesville and the City of Dixon.
After the final vote Mayor Hardman emphasized and reiterated if there was an emergency or natural disaster, the City of Waynesville would provide mutual aid to Dixon. “If you have an emergency, call us, and we'll be there in a flash.”