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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

SD1 Appointment A Point of Contention Again in Campbell County

A special meeting was called on June 29 at the Campbell County Fiscal Courthouse. Photo still: Campbell County Media Central. 
A special meeting on June 29 to reappoint a Sanitation District No. 1 board member by the Campbell County Fiscal Court spun into yet another debate about the validity of the six-year deliberation on whether a sewer line should be built from Silver Grove to Alexandria through Camp Springs.

Camp Spring resident and current SD1 board member Chuck Heilman, was on the agenda to be reappointed by the court to a term starting July 15 of this year until July 14, 2020. He has served on the SD1 board of directors since 2010.

But according to Commissioner Charlie Coleman, Heilman could be in violation for a zoning ordinance and is being questioned about his business that is improperly zoned on his personal property. That violation, as Coleman suggests, should be considered before the court reappoints him.

Heilman has been Owner and President of JACC, Inc. since 1990, which specializes in industrial safety guarding for machinery.

Coleman questioned the urgency with which the special meeting was called and wanted the Planning and Zoning Commission of Campbell County to complete its findings before the Fiscal Court voted to reappoint Heilman.

In May of this year, Coleman had one of his appointments for the Ethics Commission blocked by Judge Executive Steve Pendery. 

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"There’s an ongoing investigation in Planning and Zoning  Commission right now on Mr. Heilman. I take this (conversation) back to Eric Hermes. You wouldn’t let him come up for a vote on (the Ethics Commission) because you questioned his character. You said he doesn’t tell the truth," said Coleman. "This SD1 appointment says that Mr. Heilman will have to take an oath on honesty. If he knew his business wasn’t zoned correctly and still moved his business there, just like you questioned my character, I’m going to question his. I don’t think that he deserves to be on this board."

Coleman said that had Fiscal Court not voted on the appointment at the special meeting, Heilman would still serve until he was reappointed or a replacement was made. 

"There's no need to do this today," he said.

Anna Zinkhon, a Camp Springs resident who has adamantly opposed the sewer line being built in Camp Springs said she also questioned the timing of the appointment.
Anna Zinkhon. Photo still: Campbell County Media Central. 
"This wasn’t publicized that this meeting was happening. The (appointments) are a known term that happen every four years. I don’t know why this decision has to happen in this little room with hardly anyone knowing about it. I question the honesty in that," she said.  "This is not personal. I've known Chuck and his wife for 20 years, but as commissioners you are here to ensure that rules are being followed in Campbell County, not just for the people who are closest to you."

Pendery said that Heilman has been vetted by previously serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission for the county and has operated competently since being appointed to the SD1 Board as one of Campbell County's representatives. 

"There are major boards in my mind and then there are appointments that have less consequence. Before I put someone on a major board that has the most influence, those candidates need to spend some time on other boards," said Pendery.  "If I were to eliminate everyone that could have a (zoning) violation, I would probably be eliminating a quarter to a half of all the people that live in Campbell County and I don’t operate that way."

"I appreciate your perspective on Chuck," he said. "He and his wife are among the finest people that I know and anyone that wants to suggest otherwise, in my view, has revealed about all I need to know about their own character."

In the recent history of the Campbell County Fiscal Court, a fight for an SD1 board appointment is not unique. In June of 2015, a split vote occurred when former Campbell County Administrator, Robert Horine, was appointed by Fiscal Court by a vote of 3-1. The lone no vote was Commissioner Coleman. 

The point of contention then was mainly over the fact that Horine is a Kenton County resident which some residents felt didn't fairly represent Campbell County's interests.

Pendery said that he appointed Horine in 2015 because as the County Administrator, he handled all the complaints of the people of Campbell County for 13 years and knew what the problems were with sanitation in Northern Kentucky and Campbell County more so than any other Campbell resident. 

"The same sort of logic applies with Chuck," said Pendery. "He was vetted by serving on other boards and he has the expertise and the temperament to see what the future requires and what that really requires is rate increases. My interest with appointments to the Sanitation District has to do with the future of Campbell County and the future of Northern Kentucky and in my view the board has been in the hands of people who have been completely irresponsible where that future is concerned in the last few years."

For some residents in attendance, including Zinkhon, the conversation kept drifting back to whether or not the pipeline should be built through Camp Springs at all, a point that Campbell County Attorney Steve Franzen noted was not on the agenda for the special meeting. 

"I feel that Chuck Heilman’s ability to serve on SD1’s Board was compromised when he misrepresented (the Camp Springs community's wishes) to the SD1 Board in January 2013," said Zinkhon. "At that SD1 board meeting, (Heilman) told the other members of that board that there were no issues within the community with the pipeline being built and that was just not the truth at all."

Steve Stapleton, a member of the county Planning and Zoning Commission, was in attendance as a resident of the county. "I personally know Chuck and I don’t think him making rubber gaskets in a barn in Camp Springs should have anything to do with this decision on SD1," he said.

After the discussion, a motion was made to reappoint Heilman, which passed 3-1. Voting for the reappointment were Pendery and Commissioners Tom Lampe and Brian Painter. Voting against was Commissioner Coleman.

"The pipeline project has been going on for six years. There has been a lot of heartache and I understand where you are coming from, but we are at the very end of this thing," said Pendery. "I know this is a last ditch effort to try and stop the pipeline and for that reason some are willing to try to impugn the integrity of a person who I think is a wonderful person and who is a good public servant." 

Chuck Heilman. PHOTO: 


  1. Great reporting!

  2. I sure hope Pendry has a plan in place for himself after this term is up.