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Accusations fly in Palmyra

Several accusations were made against a Palmyra town council member at last month’s meeting, and the town attorney said the complaints will be investigated.
Cheri Banet, Palmyra’s town manager since 2009, read at least seven complaints she had filed against Alvin Brown during the June 14 meeting.
During the readings, she quoted Brown allegedly using profane language on numerous occasions, making racial slurs and saying negative things about his fellow council members.
‘I don’t want to sue the town; it’s filled with good people,’ Banet said before asking the town attorney, Rachel Armstrong, what recourse she has.
Before responding, Armstrong told the audience that she did not represent Banet or Brown, but rather the town. She also advised Brown, who was re-elected to his second term last year and who formerly served on the Harrison County Council, not to say anything in response to the allegations made by Banet.
Armstrong also advised Brown and the other two council members, Virginia (Jenny) Kirkham, board president, and Paul Eveslage, that they should ask her about anything surrounding the allegations before speaking to anyone else.
‘My job here is to help shoulder some of your burdens … put it on me,’ she said.
The next step, she said, is to have an investigation of the allegations made by Banet.
And, Armstrong said, the state’s nepotism law that went into effect July 1 also prohibits a person from acting outside of their scope. ‘One person may not act alone,’ she said.
Banet accused Brown of conducting town business on his own, often without the knowledge of the other two board members. In her complaints, she read that she had directed other town employees not to take orders from Brown and for them not to be alone with him. She also said that her work environment has made her ill.
‘I think what we heard here is some serious allegations,’ Armstrong said. ‘I hope they’re not true. … I hope we can resolve them.’
Roy (Speedy) McClanahan, a former councilman in Palmyra, asked twice before the meeting adjourned 75 minutes after it started why Brown wasn’t allowed to address the charges made by Banet, but, yet, Banet could make several allegations.
Both times, Armstrong said she wasn’t saying Brown couldn’t speak, but she was advising him against doing so.
The first time McClanahan asked about it, he also asked whether there were any reports about fraud in the town’s records.
Brown did respond by saying that the State Board of Accounts could have a report in October or November and ‘there could be things picked up.’
After McClanahan asked the second time, near the conclusion of the meeting, Brown said one word, retaliation, which resulted in Banet making other accusations.
Brown said after the meeting he wasn’t planning any retaliation but rather Banet is the one retaliating because of Brown’s inquiring of the town’s records.
Also during the meeting, Elizabeth Stinson was sworn in as Palmyra’s chief marshal. She had been the acting chief since Steve Hamm resigned March 22. Hamm is being investigated by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. The part-time position pays $15,000 a year.
During her report, Stinson said she had been working on enforcing the transient ordinance, which requires persons who set up a booth in town to purchase a $25 permit. A $250 refundable deposit is also required.
Citations are issued at $100 for the first offense, $300 for the second and $600 for the third.
Stinson said she also has been enforcing the town’s speed limit in an attempt ‘to slow people down.’
The Palmyra Police Dept. is getting prices for radios and other equipment for the recently acquired police cruiser, ‘all within the budget,’ Stinson said.
The town council’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 12, at 7 p.m.

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