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Smithsburg officials argue over contract issues

December 02, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

SMITHSBURG -- An ongoing controversy about how the town of Smithsburg handles contracts flared up again Tuesday night, with Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers claiming there have been discussions outside town council meetings over the flap and council member Jerome Martin again expressing concern over a "mishmash" contract system.

There was argument over whether the issue should be on the agenda for Tuesday night's town council meeting and general concern about bickering on the council.

"Let's all calm down," Town Clerk, Treasurer and Manager Betsy Martin said at one point.

After a long debate, Martin, and council members Dennis "Jack" Wenthe and Donnie Souders passed a proposal to have a system for standardized contracts.

Myers strongly objected to the move, saying town attorney Charles F. Wagaman Jr. was going to come back to the council in January to assist them with a proposal.

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Now that the new proposal has been passed, the city has "double work" on its hands, Martin said.

"If that's what they want, that's what they get," Myers said.

Martin has been pushing for a standardized way of handling town contracts.

Myers, whose husband, Homer Myers, co-owns a company that has received $8,772 this year for mowing, tree removal and other jobs, attributed the informality of the process partly to small-town growing pains.

Myers has said there is a better way of handling contracts but questioned Tuesday night why a solution has to be rushed.

The issue was not initially on Tuesday night's agenda and Souders, Wenthe and Martin voted not to accept the agenda.

"Well, I guess we'll just sit here then," Myers said.

Souders, Wenthe and Martin then voted to put standardized contracts on the agenda.

Myers said it was not fair to put an item on the agenda without the public knowing about it.

Myers made claims several times about discussions outside council meetings over the issue.

"If you've got proof, I'd like to see that proof," said Souders.

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