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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Cold Spring Council Discusses Recent Complaint; No Decision Made

The Cold Spring city council met to discuss a complaint about a council member and decided to continue exploration of the issue.

By Robin Gee, city council beat editor

No decision has been made on the issue of a recent complaint against a Cold Spring city council member. The city council met last week in a special meeting but decided more discussion will be needed.

The special meeting agenda included an executive session in which council members could meet in private to discuss the complaint and possible litigation. Yet, at the start of the meeting, council decided to keep its discussion public and did not adjourn for an executive session.

The issue

The special meeting was held to discuss a complaint filed against member Cindy Moore by a contractor who works with the city. Darryl Beasley, owner of a Jani King franchise cleaning company, filed the complaint concerning an incident at in which he felt Moore exhibited bias that could have an adverse effect on his ability to do business with the city in the future.

Beasley’s complaint states that Moore approached him at the city’s Christmas party in December 2019 and questioned him repeatedly. He said he felt her questioning was racially motivated and that, because he is African American, she may have believed him to be an inmate from a jail release program that partners with the city.

Beasley’s letter of complaint was accompanied by letters from the city’s Public Works Director Ron Hitch and three city staff. Hitch was at the Christmas party and agrees with Beasley’s account of events.

Moore denies the claim, stating that her intent in questioning Beasley was misunderstood and was not racially motivated, and that the inmate program was not discussed. In her statement she also accused city officials of using the incident to hurt her chances at re-election because she has brought up concerns over city spending and other issues.

RELATED: Cold Spring Sets Special Meeting to Discuss Complaint Against Council Member

Steve Megerle, attorney for Beasley, alleges the incident was part of a pattern of behavior that spoke to Moore’s capacity to hold office. He is asking for an apology from Moore and her resignation from council. If she refuses, he asks the city to remove her. If the city fails to do so, he says he will pursue legal action against the city on behalf of his client.

An elected official can be removed from office by a unanimous vote of all members of the body (except the official) under circumstances such as misconduct, incapacity or willful negligence of duty. The official then has right of appeal through the Circuit Court.

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Discussion includes details of incident and additional issues

Hitch and Moore’s lawyer Randy Blankenship were present at the meeting. Mayor D. Angelo Penque did not participate in the meeting, stating it was a matter only for council.

Both Hitch and Moore answered questions about the incident from city council members. Other issues were discussed including concerns over Moore’s frequent information requests to the city and earlier accusations she has made in social media about the use of city funds.

The issue of Moore’s concerns and interest in the city’s use of inmates from the Campbell County Detention Center was discussed at length as well.

Council adjourned without coming to a conclusion. A new meeting has not yet been scheduled and information on a new meeting should be available soon on the Cold Spring city website. A recording of the June 4 meeting is available on the city of Cold Spring Facebook page.

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