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Letters

October 3, 2013

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For Oct. 3

Floyd GOP not without fiscal fault

I know Dave Matthews is a pilot, but his head really must be in the clouds if he believes an attack on Democratic Party Chairman Adam Dickey will expunge his party’s responsibility for Floyd County’s fiscal nightmare.

It was the Republican auditor that caused most of the problems, failing to accurately manage county funds. His fellow Republicans — Commissioner Mark Seabrook and Floyd County Council members Jim Wathen, Dana Fendley and Lana Aebersold have all been quoted in the newspaper and at public meetings asserting this assessment. Is he now saying they are wrong?

Additionally, to his point that the county isn’t “tapped out,” it was his own Republican auditor that reported that the county was unable to borrow any more than $25,845 because they had reached their borrowing limit. With the county scrambling to find resources to pay expenses, including the Camm and Gibson trials, it seems Dickey couldn’t be too far from the mark in asserting the county was broke.

Finally, to the larger point of fiscal responsibility, it seems the most prudent thing for the county to do early this year was stop spending to cover the costs we all knew were coming, like the Camm trial.

Instead, Republicans chose to do other things — like an $800,000 purchase of property on Charlestown Road, or $50,000 to renovate the auditor’s office. In my house, being fiscally responsible means saying no to the new car, when you can't afford your mortgage payments.

Maybe Matthews should check in with reality before his next rant.

— Tammie Naville, Floyds Knobs

Former UEZ director: checks were long overdue

Editor’s note: Michael Ladd, former executive director of the Urban Enterprise Zone Association, is referring to a story published by the News and Tribune that ran in the Aug. 31, 2013, edition titled “New Albany: A highly ethical city?” He is referring to David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for New Albany.

“[David] Duggins said the UEZ attempted to mail two checks to cover the $1,875 for two weeks of pay they believe he was due, but they were returned and not cashed.”

It took 17 months for the UEZ to send the two checks reference in the above quote and then only after the Indiana Department of Labor suggested I sue the New Albany Urban Enterprise Association after three attempts failed to elicit any response at all. Also, there have been at least five attempts by local attorneys to contact Duggins specifically and the UEA through its board president and other officers about the same matter over the same 17-month period. It was only after the labor department recommended I sue that the UEA responded through the civil city attorney. The email is dated July 17 and reads, in part:

“The Indiana Department of Labor has been investigating the above referenced wage claim. We made several attempts to contact New Albany Urban Enterprise Association, but received no response. Since New Albany Urban Enterprise Association failed to respond to this claim, the Department of Labor is unable to determine whether the wages claimed are actually owed.”

A copy of this email was sent to the UEA also. So I was not surprised when on Aug. 1, I found in my mailbox a letter from the corporate counsel. It contained two checks from the UEA. They were dated March 15, 2012. I had written them myself. Seventeen months old, 11 months out of date.

Checks have a shelf-life of six months. Of course I returned them, they could not be deposited. They were no good. Five days later I received newly issued, cashable, checks.

“We do feel like he was entitled to the remaining two weeks of his contract.”  

But this came only after 17 months of stalling, numerous efforts by attorneys to contact them, and after attempting to pawn off two checks that were no good.

Duggins is good at parsing his words that leave a reader or listener with a misimpression of actual circumstances. It is only after looking behind the curtain that you learn the truth.

There is only one point on which I can say I agree with Duggins: I, too, will be “happy to discuss” these issues with the Ethics Commission — if they ever get created and actually meet.

— Michael C. Ladd, Ex-executive director of the New Albany UEZ.

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