Perryville City Council meeting gets heated

Published 2:00 am Friday, October 13, 2023

By Lance Gaither

During the Perryville City Council meeting on Oct. 5, an executive session on a personnel matter and future city government procedures turned into a heated argument.

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After Perryville Police Chief Parker Hatter delivered the monthly police and alcoholic beverage control reports, councilor Rob Kernodle inquired about a police cruiser that has been sitting in the parking lot of Perryville City Hall.

Mayor Carlos Miller explained that there had been an instance of insubordination with Perryville Police Officer Nick Paton, who was placed on unpaid leave.

“The officer is home trying to decide if they want to work for the city or not,” Miller said.

When councilors inquired further, Miller stated that he did not wish to discuss the issue during the meeting but that he was willing to discuss it openly if the council wanted to. Kernodle then asked the mayor if there had been any paperwork or documentation of the disciplinary action with concerns that the city could face a lawsuit.

Miller stated that proper paperwork has not been filed as the officer’s signature is needed and that officer has been out of town with no means to deliver paperwork. City Attorney Whitney Johns noted that Kentucky law allows open forums to enter executive session for discussions that would potentially lead to the hiring, firing or disciplinary action of an employee. The council entered into executive session along with Hatter.

During the session, raised voices could be heard. Near the end of the session, Hatter exited the council chambers and expressed strong displeasure with the city’s government before leaving the meeting.

On Thursday, Miller said that Hatter had not resigned as chief, but that Paton had. He added that the resignation is not official until the next council meeting in November and that both he and Hatter have attempted to persuade Paton to rescind the resignation.   

During a discussion on having a new location for the city fire station, Chief Nathan Stevens said that having firefighters on both sides of the river would be a safer option for residents, rather than having both stations on the same side.

“I’m not saying the bridge will be compromised, but in this day and age you never know,” Stevens said. “We need to have at least one truck on the other side.”

Both councilor Mike Lankford and Stevens shared stories of the bridge being impassible for traffic. The council voted to have firefighting equipment kept on both sides of the river.

During open forum, Perryville resident Darrel Lyons brought forth complaints about Perryville’s water being handled by Danville Utilities. He expressed frustrations with billing, water shutoffs despite bills being paid, and lack of communication. Miller said that attempts to find a solution to Perryville’s water have been difficult.

“We have been trying to get something done since I have been mayor,” Miller said. “It feels like butting my head against the wall. From open records I am not getting what I need. Hopefully we can get things worked out in the future. I would like to work with them. I think they do a good job but by their own admission they are having issues with billing.”

He explained that Perryville citizens regularly experience cutoffs,

“Every month we have at least 40 or more people have their water cutoff,” Miller said. “Some deserve because they haven’t paid their bills but others have paid and it gets lost somewhere. Most complaints are that they are not notified before shutoff.”   

In other news from the meeting, Perryville Trick-Or-Treating has been set for 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 31.