NEW ALBANY — While it may be the last item on Monday's busy agenda, a resolution to censure New Albany City Council President Al Knable for statements he made about a recent 911 call could have an impact on the council moving forward.
Democratic Councilman Pat McLaughlin will introduce the censure resolution, "expressing severe disapproval" in Knable's comments, which focused on the dangers of having two dispatch centers in Floyd County after his recent 911 call that he said had to be transferred after it was sent to county dispatch.
The News and Tribune had contacted Knable and others two weeks ago for a story on 911 dispatch in New Albany and Floyd County. Some officials favor joining city-county dispatch, while others prefer they remain as-is. During that interview, Knable said he had called 911 in New Albany, but his call was rerouted to Floyd County's dispatch center. Knable used the incident as an example as to why one dispatch center is needed.
The censure states: "The president claimed the dispatcher informed him that he would have to hang up and call another number to respond to the emergency," and that "these false allegations have potential to compromise the general public's confidence in New Albany's emergency services."
Knable withheld comment until Monday night, but did say he "looks forward to clearing the matter up."
"I gave an honest account of the incident and I plan to speak on the matter," he said.
New Albany Police Chief Todd Bailey called a news conference last Friday, when he disputed Knable's claims to the media. Bailey said a call to 911 did not occur as Knable portrayed it, and that the department's communication department works.
“After an extensive investigation into this specific claim, which included inspections of 911 calls at the time and conversations with President Knable, himself, we learned President Knable never made a 911 call as he previously claimed,” Bailey said at the news conference. He went on to say there is no record of an alarm, fire or burglary at the location in question.
Knable, a Republican, said he did make a call, and turned over his phone records to the chief of police to prove it, but he used Siri to make the call.
Councilman Dan Coffey did not withhold comment about the censure, or how he will likely vote on the resolution.
"It's 100 percent political," Coffey said. "Al is one of the most honest people I've ever met. I know his votes on the council are not political. I am really disappointed in that one [resolution]."
Coffey said the vote will likely go along party lines. That means the two independents, Coffey and Scott Blair, will likely decide the matter on whether Knable will be officially censured. The council also includes four Democrats and three Republicans.
McLaughlin did not want to make a public comment until Monday's meeting.
PUDD THIRD READING
It failed on the first two readings earlier this month, but an ordinance to rezone 5.1 acres at 2406 and 2012 Green Valley Road and 115 E. Daisy Lane to permit single family dwellings in an Urban Residential District is up for third reading Monday.
The measure failed by a 5-4 vote during the first two readings.
The proposal, by Thieneman Group LLC, is to construct 29 duplex homes, with high-end finishes such as granite countertops and crown-molding, priced at $185,000 each.
At the meeting several residents spoke against the proposal, citing traffic concerns and the negative impact the development would have on their properties. Councilmen Bob Caesar, Dave Barksdale and Greg Phipps cited the high density as their main concern.
Knable said procedurally the council has to have a third reading. He also said he doesn't know if any of the council members will change their minds.
"I told the developer they would have to go from siding to brick in order to keep my vote," Knable said. He added others may be swayed if the Thieneman Group would cut the number of homes they plan to build.
Coffey said he still favors the development and will continue to support it.
"It's needed," he said. "When they built Trinity Run [nearby development] I was not for it at the time, but it turned out to be a good project. I think this will also be a good project. I think it fits well with the neighborhood."
The council will also consider an ordinance that will change the order of business during council meetings.