Hope council meets in closed session about town employee

HOPE — A closed-door meeting of the Hope Town Council will be conducted Monday regarding accusations against an unidentified town employee, council president Ed Johnson said.

The allegations first surfaced publicly during the council’s Dec. 19 meeting when a Hope resident made an inquiry to town officials.

Jake Miller, president of the Hope Chamber of Commerce, told the council during that meeting he had information about the matter that he was willing to share.

But Miller and others were urged by town attorney Cynthia Boll to withhold their comments. She advised the council to not discuss the matter publicly until after an executive session.

When that closed-door meeting is conducted Monday, Johnson said he anticipates there will be no witnesses. Rather than hearing specific allegations, the main emphasis will be establishing guidelines on how to proceed with the minimum risk of liability, Johnson said.

“We just want to make sure we are moving in the right direction,” Johnson said.

A decision is expected that evening on whether the council should schedule a second closed-door meeting, he said. If a second meeting is conducted, that’s when case-specific facts and evidence will be presented, as well as the possible questioning of witnesses, the council president said.

While state law allows the council to discuss personnel matters behind closed doors, Johnson said any formal action taken against the employee must be announced during a public meeting.

For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.