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Resident to mayor: 'You are an embarrassment'

By ELLEN SIMMONS • Oct 12, 2017 at 12:33 PM

NEW LONDON — A group of campers from the Reservoir Park Campground accused the mayor of New London Monday of bullying the park supervisor and charged him with carrying out a personal vendetta against him. 

With more than 50 people in attendance, Mayor John Martin opened the meeting by trying to head off any discussion of the situation, stating “No employee has been written up or in question and no action taken. Everything has been handled in-house. Nor further discussion is necessary.”

At the previous meeting, Park Supervisor Joe Thomas felt compelled to read a letter to council outlining his qualifications as well as his accomplishments as park supervisor. 

“I put my heart and my soul into this job every day,” Thomas said. “I love this town and everything about it and that is why I do what I do. But there does come a time when a person can only take so much and I am at that point.”

Neither the mayor nor Thomas would disclose details about whatever it was that came between them.

Several people in attendance spoke out on behalf of Thomas and harshly criticized Martin.

One camper said the situation was part of “a personal vendetta” on behalf of Martin. Others praised the work Thomas has done to improve the park, as well as the campground.

Village resident Mark Roeder said the situation has been going on since January and he added the mayor’s job is “to bring jobs to our town.”

Resident Gayle Ashbaker suggested the mayor should resign or council should get rid of him.

“You are not doing the job you were supposed to do,” she said. “You are an embarrassment.”

Ashbaker also questioned the new zoning map, as did Sandy Sword, a member of the planning and zoning committee and owner of a parcel of land affected by the new map.

The mayor referred the zoning questions to the solicitor, who was not at the meeting, and gave a “no comment” to other statements.

Council passed an ordinance amending the employee handbook and a resolution “accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the Budget Commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the County Auditor.”

Council also approved the police chief’s recommendation to promote Seth Miracle to sergeant and Lance Capiot to crime prevention specialist. The men will be sworn in at the next meeting.

In other business council heard

• The Country Roads Music Fest was a success, and tickets are on sale at the village office for the Nov. 4 Gun Raffle.

* The village is meeting with county representatives concerning the ownership of Biglow Parkway.

* Employees fixed a water leak on Third Street and are looking for one near South Main Street and Clyde Avenue.

* Mark Roeder is the new parkboard president and the next meeting is 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30.

• The mayor read a proclamation making Oct. 9 Drug Awareness Day and adding, “Drugs are a serious problem facing our county.”

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