Mayor Brent Lambert said Thursday that he will name a new person to represent East Ridge on the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority.
This will happen despite that fact that the city’s current representative, Don Seagle, wishes to serve another five-year term.
Lambert met with Seagle on Tuesday at City Hall to discuss the move. According to Seagle, the mayor intimidated him and forced him to resign. Mayor Lambert said nothing could be further from the truth.
Lambert said that during Tuesday’s meeting, he thanked Seagle for his five year’s of service and if he wanted to continue serving the city the mayor would appoint him to the city’s planning commission. Lambert said Seagle accepted the proposal to serve on the planning commission and that the meeting was cordial and completely void of animosity.
That’s why Mayor Lambert said he was “shocked” when Seagle e-mailed him _ and reached out to East Ridge News Online _ accusing the mayor of being heavy handed.
In a series of e-mails, Seagle claimed that Mayor Lambert “duped” him into meeting him alone at City Hall. Seagle stated that he expected the Mayor to meet not only with him but with various folks who have been appointed to volunteer boards which serve the city. In an initial e-mail, Seagle asked the mayor if “I need to have my attorney present at your requested meeting?”
In a subsequent e-mail, Seagle asked to be compensated for his five years on the board and requested that the city present him with a plaque for his service.
In a prepared statement, Lambert said he never asked Seagle to resign and “certainly never threatened you in any way.”
“I appointed you as the WWTA representative from East Ride on March 10, 2011, and that appointment was confirmed by the city council in Resolution 2195. This was not an appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States in that you receive a lifetime appointment.
“To make this as clear as possible, your five-year term is almost up, and as of now, I have no intention of reappointing you. We discussed the possibility of my appointing you to a position on the planning commission, but based on last night’s email, I don’t believe that is an idea to which either of us should give further consideration.”
Lambert wrote in his statement that Seagle’s position as the city’s representative on the WWTA board was on a volunteer basis. He wrote that Seagle has twice asked to be paid and both times the council denied that request. “You knew this was a volunteer position when you lobbied me and the entire council for the position back in 2011,” Lambert wrote in the statement. “If at any point you thought you were being treated unfairly, you should have resigned at that point.”
Lambert said Thursday afternoon that he wants to appoint a member of the East Ridge City staff to serve the next term on the WWTA board. He said that member _ possibly the Fire Marshal, the Chief Building Official or even the next City Manager _ would work more closely on a daily basis with existing businesses in the city and one’s proposing to relocate here.
Lambert said that Seagle would serve out the remaining term of his appointment, which expires on March 9.