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Bedford City Council Hesitant To Vacate Property
Updated May 5, 2013 1:09 AM
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(BEDFORD) - The Bedford City Council will take under consideration an ordinance to vacate a portion of two streets located at Park Street and Abel Avenue, south of Washington Park.

The request was made by Attorney Brent Steele who is representing Dwain Shipman, who lives at 3625 Abel Avenue and Peggy Sue Louden Mitchell, who lives at 3131 Able Avenue.

Shipman wants the property vacated because it is where his driveway is located. However the property is also part of an unused city park.

The council voted on the ordinance it was passed twice, but not unanimously. Councilman Mark Scherschel voted against the ordinance. The ordinance needs a third passage before the street can be vacated. That vote will come next month.

"I hesitate to suspend the rules for a third passage tonight," says Council President Byron Buker. "I personnel would like to see the property and have a better view of it. I am reluctant to do that when we are discussing giving away part of a park, even though that area may not be used as often as we would like."

Scherschel agrees.

"I don't want to give it away," he says. "I am sorry for a wrong that was done long ago, but I think the city should keep the property."

That wrong Scherschel was apologizing for was when Shipman built his driveway on the property six years ago the city should have realized it was being put on city property.

"We have a process and the problem should have been caught before Mr. Shipman built on the property," says Councilman Patrick Robbins. "I'd like to know where in the process the procedure failed."

In other business:

The council passed an ordinance to vacate an undeveloped alley between the property of Larry and Judith New who live at 2403 G Street and property owned by Alan Scott Ryan and James P. Ryan, who lives at 715 25th Street.

Community and Employee Relations Coordinator Kyle Brown asked the council to review and sign the disclosure statement and compliance statement for the city's nepotism policy.

State law mandates all local governments adopt and implement anti-nepotism policies. It also compels local elected officials to disclose any financial ties they may have with contractors who receive taxpayer dollars.

The statute bans local officeholders from hiring relatives or engaging them without making particular disclosures. It also restricts public employees from holding any office that controls money or policies that can benefit them.

Violation of the policy could result in discipline including termination of an employee or a transfer from the direct line of supervision or other curative action. An elected or appointed official of the city who fails to abide by or cooperate with the implementation with the compliance and with mandated certifications of either the nepotism police may be subject to action allowed by law.

The new law, also make some newly elected government officials ineligible to seek office in the next municipal election if they are employed with the city.

The City Clerk Treasurer Julie Blackwell Chase told the council the city audit "went great" there were no problems.

Brown asked the council to consider expanding the city's wellness program to allow employees to take advantage of a reduction in health insurance if they go to health facility to work out.

"This discount would be given to employees who are members of a gym," Brown says. "It encourages employees to be physically fit and shows they are taking charge of their health. And we have the money in our funds to do this."

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