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Local

Full Statement: County supervisor accuses board chair of intimidation

Cupples
Cupples

I have prepared a written statement to read. I would appreciate waiting for comment until I am done. Last week many things were said and I want to set the record straight.

Last week Tuesday November 28th Joe and I had a disagreement during our board meeting. According to the paper we have different direction for the annex building. This is actually untrue. Repeatedly we have heard Joe try to discredit my plans and stall forward progress and then finish with “We need to get the people out of the basement.” This always leaves me and anyone listening confused. Because that is exactly what I am attempting to do today get the people out of the basement away from the potential health hazard.

At one point last week, I turned to the attendants of the meeting to apologize. Joe said I was playing to crowd. I was genuinely embarrassed of our bickering. I am still truly sorry.

Joe also has commented on multiple occasions about how he has talked to me “about how I am out doing my own thing”. Joe has yelled and acted aggressive to me on on 5 different occasions. Aggressive intimidating behaviour is not what I respond to. It is just the opposite. Very disheartening.

Joe seems to be threatened or worried when I am out doing my job. He should not feel this way. Everything I am doing is for the betterment of our board. Information is power. We are peers and our authority is the equal.I am going to work hard more than just Tuesdays. It's as though everything has to go through Joe. As chair he does have a few additional responsibilities and none of them are authority over other supervisors. I really want to work together.

Joe commented on me not liking negative press on Facebook. Then when I tried to explain he basically called me a liar and stuck his hand in my face (sticking his hand in my face was completely uncalled for). I was simply going to say that I did say that I do not like the negative publicity in the paper not Facebook. Joe’s accusations toward me were just digs and attempts to overstep his authority. Totally unnecessary.

Joe has commented at least three times about me not visiting the health board meeting. I did visit during the last board of health meeting and yes I felt more motivated with latest events going on. Who wouldn’t?

On the other hand I have been in more contact with health dept. over the last year. After checking, I discovered Joe has only attended one board of health meeting. He made it sound like he had been to several but just one.

Joe has also commented on my poor communication with him. It is unfortunate that Joe continues to bring this up. I have worked here 11 months I spoke with Joe on the phone five or six times all of which were initiated by me. Joe has returned one text to me out of maybe a 10 or 12 but never initiating communication. Never have I been responded to on single email. Other than that Joe has not made any attempt to contact me outside of board meetings not even once. It is no secret that Joe does not call people or companies back. If you have tried to communicate with Joe you know what I am talking about. If I had not contacted Joe he would have never contacted me outside of Tuesdays.

OnJanuary 3rd 2017 I took office. I was informed immediately about how the Annex basement was in need of repairs and rehab because of leaking water. That we would need to take action soon. After being convinced of the seriousness of the problem I thought it would be best to put funds in the budget to get this problem resolved. This problem had been going on for a at least three years. With the info I had received, we suggested we put $500,000 into the capital improvement funds for the annex building during the budget. Knowing this could be serious situation. And we did.

Last week Joe also mentioned wanting to work together as a board. After the meeting I asked him if he would like the phone number for Don the landlord of the property so he could go see it. He said he’d be back. We waited 15 minutes. I left a sticky note on his desk and sent him a text message with the info. The next day Wednesday the November 29th, 2017 I sent an email with my intentions on the agenda. I received no response to any of them.

I also understand that Joe went to the annex after the meeting and was looking around coming up with ideas for space or something. He did not invite us but that is OK. These are the things that I do that make him so mad. I prefer to work on this stuff alone.

So early on we started the process of discovering what we could do. We had the Annex building on the agenda as a subject for approximately 20 weeks. With no real progress.

To my understanding Joe did not go look at the building. He had two weeks to do so.

We contacted Shive Hattery and gave them basically a blank check to give us the cost of repairs. They gave us quite an exuberant bid.

In the last meeting of January 2017 Joe had told me about something him and Adam had done. So I was interested and asked Adam about it. Joe was not happy and I got to witness what I was told happens when Joe gets mad. Joe accused me of trailing him around as though there was malice on my part. I am not sure what he was afraid of? But certainly he was angry. I just let this go. Not being certain why it happened. But since then he has yelled and attempted to belittle me multiple times before meetings. The way he says things makes it so if you respond you seem defensive or combative and if you don’t he wants you to feel overpowered and just let him have his way. There are multiple people in this room who have been in this situation. Intimidation is no way to lead. Every time I have remained calm and let Joe air out his frustrations. Not returning like for like. These attempted reprimands have had no effect on me or my will to carry on my work and the protection of the Jasper county tax payers money and Jasper county employees.

The reality is Joe is not my boss and I am not his. I know who my boss is and my goal is to serve the people of Jasper County who hired me.

I have made attempts to work with Joe but the problem for me has been lack of action. Nothing gets done from week to week. Joe wants to stop, slow down or wait til next week. This has been crippling to the boards ability to take action on different issues.

As a leader I am not one to sit and wait for someone else to lead. If you are not leading, I will.

I also believe in working together. I believe in delegation and sharing ideas.

Again I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has brought to anyone including Joe. Now let’s move on let this all go behind us.

Here we are almost 12 months later on the annex building. We have looked at several dif. Buildings and options. Sometimes together sometimes apart.

There is no doubt we need to fix the basement whether we put the people back down there or not.

It's time to take the next step and get the people out of the basement and away from the potential health hazard.

Also the benefit of moving them now is contractors can get here and bid on the projects.

We contacted Shive Hattery sometime in April or May and gave them basically a blank check to give us the cost of repairs. They gave us a breakdown of everything and what they thought was an estimated cost would be. I spoke with Chris from Shive Hattery about the Job and he explained that we could save a lot of money by doing things a little dif. And it was not necessary to do everything they suggested. I believe we can do the work with in $500,000 or less. They are more than willing to work with us at our requests.

We will seal off the areas we are working in from the ventilation and take extra precautions to ensure the safety of all the annex buildings occupants. After talking with the Mold expert he was pretty sure this was more than possible and there was very little if any risk to the other occupants. We should do additional mold test also as we go. Safety will be our priority.

I suggest we buy 4 air scrubbers/ air purifiers. These are high tech air purification exchangers. And we put them strategically throughout the building.

After we vacate the basement we will start the process of investigation of what our next steps will be.

These steps include but are not limited to:

1. Remodel the basement and get the people back down there.

2. Just repair and make it a basement.

A.Find an alternative location for the health dept. Buy or lease.

3.If building is not worth repairing then we look at a move to an existing location or build new?

If you any ideas please feel free to send an email to me.

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