The great rock debate Perryville council member gets complaint for way he handled painted rock project

Published 8:43 am Tuesday, October 10, 2017

During Perryville City Council’s regular meeting Thursday, the council heard from community resident Mae Hafley regarding behavior she and others felt unbecoming of council member Paul Webb. She said the issue started because people were hiding painted rocks in Baril Park, and Webb had gotten angry about it.

Webb owns a portion of the land along the Chaplin River known as Baril Park. There has been discussion in the past questioning who has the right to use the land, as some of the deeds grant access to the city allowing it to be used as a path, but their property lines go to the river.

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“The city has a permanent easement for the care and conservation of that park, but it has never been formally determined by means and bounds, according to our attorney,” council member Julie Clay said. 

City Attorney Winfield Frankel, who was absent from Thursday’s meeting, is looking into the matter.

Sleet said the situation with Baril Park needs to be resolved.

“I don’t know what the problem is about using the park, but I’m going to ask our attorney … We need to resolve the fact of using Baril Park,” Mayor Anne Sleet said.

Hafley alleged that Webb has “flipped people off” and called others names.

Clay encouraged her to speak to the attorney when he returns from his honeymoon in a few weeks.

“I don’t feel this is the place or time for such a conflict for the city council to hear. I appreciate there is a conflict and a great deal of animosity, but that has no bearing on the city business,” Clay said. She said residents with complaints should file those with the state ethics board.

Webb attempted to speak, and Clay told him to not speak on the matter without the city attorney at hand. After Hafley left, council member Steve Bailey asked Clay if she was representing Webb as an attorney.

“I’m trying to escape liability,” she said.

He then asked Webb directly what the issue was.

“There is none. Except for when they came up onto my deck when I had a guest there. The only thing I said was, ‘Please don’t. Enjoy hiding your rocks, just don’t hide them on my deck.’ That was it,” Webb said. “Everything else was blown out of proportion to the point of everyone’s accusing someone of doing something that isn’t true.”

Clay said they “needed to move on,” which Webb and Sleet agreed to.

Sleet added a word of caution, “business is business and foolishness is something else. We’re all about business and taking care of the city.”

The city also heard from council member Jerry Houck, who wants members to consider reinstating pay for the mayor, which would go into effect for the next mayor under statute. Currently, Sleet does not receive a regular compensation, but there is a $300 line item in the budget for her travel expenses, but she said she didn’t use much of that.

“I’d rather give to the city of my service,” she said in a phone interview on Friday. 

Sleet said she wasn’t sure if the mayor of Perryville was ever a paid position.

Also, the council heard from Fire Chief Anthony Young regarding dispatch services. Young said he had drafted a letter to send to the city of Danville, requesting a proposal to discuss the costs. With the Boyle County Fiscal Court voting to remain with the Danville 911 Center, Young said he felt that put to rest any questions on where Perryville would receive services, too.

The council also set Trick or Treat hours at 5-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.