Portage clerk-treasurer defends self, data


PORTAGE – The clerk-treasurer
lashed out at a councilwoman and the mayor for suggesting he’s incompetent and
presented his own figures for justifying a reduced police
At Monday’s council
meeting, Bruce Shepherd accused Mayor Mark Wolford and Councilwoman Marcia
Wolford, who are married, for demeaning his integrity and
“You have tried your best
to denigrate me,” Shepherd said. “It’s very clear some people want to see me out
of this position but I’m not going to leave it.”
Marcia Wolford said she
is not going after Shepherd.
“I am simply as a member
of council requesting accurate reports so we can make decisions,” she said.
Shepherd said the mayor,
after last month’s council meeting, said he was incompetent.
“I’m not saying Bruce is
incompetent,” Wolford responded. “I’m saying there are things that just don’t
Shepherd also presented
figures that show police department and mayor’s court expenses for the year
through July 27. They detail what the department is charged for, including
utilities, insurance and salaries.
The total costs for both
areas are $78,710. He said the total revenue from mayor’s court and Bowling
Green Municipal Court so far this year has been $50,824. The difference, or
loss, is $27,885.
“There’s nothing I can do
with UAN (Uniform Accounting Network). I input reports. I input purchases. I
input the amounts. I input the checks. That’s all I do. The computer does
everything else,” Shepherd said.
At the last council
meeting, three council members and the mayor voted to reinstate the police
chief’s hours to 40. They had been cut to 20 in June.
Marcia Wolford presented
numbers that contradicted with Shepherd’s figures. She also said police revenue
had plummeted since Bartz’s hours were reduced.
According to finances
presented by Shepherd, the police department lost $1,317 in May, and four times
that in previous months. The department’s costs for this year were estimated to
be about $40,000 more than the $153,000 it cost to operate in
Shepherd also said Monday
that he wouldn’t take minutes anymore. Council usually spends about 30 minutes
correcting minutes at the start of each meeting.
“Clearly there is an
issue with minutes,” he said. “I won’t do it with that kind of
He said council could
hire a company that would transcribe the minutes word for
“You need to do your
job,” Mayor Wolford said. “You need to pay the bills. You need to take the
Shepherd’s comments
followed a 45-minute discussion of minutes from the June 15 and July 20
Marcia Wolford said she
listened to the audio recording of the June 15 meeting and had numerous
corrections. One pertained to $40,000 the village owes on a sewer loan by the
end of the year.
Wolford said the comment
was not made during the meeting. Both Tamara Sharp and Jay Sockman said they
remembered it being discussed and possibly the tape didn’t pick it
It may have been talked
about during the finance committee meeting that preceded council, Wolford said.
“It was not on the CD,” she said.
“I really am quite
certain that statement was made,” Sharp said.
When Wolford quoted
extensively at times from the audio CD for the corrections, Sharp asked her if
she wanted the minutes typed word for word.
“No, I’m saying I want
them to be essentially correct,” Wolford said.
Wolford made a motion to
approve the corrected minutes, but it died when it wasn’t
For the July 20 meeting,
Shepherd said something happened with the audio recorder and there was an empty
Also at the meeting,
Heard Village
Administrator Ron Sharp recommend no increase in sewer fees. He said the charges
had already brought in $68,000 this year and $30,000 had been paid out. Mayor
Wolford said it was a positive that the account had money when the village was
struggling in other areas; Portage was put into fiscal emergency by the
state in April. Councilwoman Sharp said. “That’s what’s supporting the village
and it should not be.”
Heard Wolford say he is
organizing a “clean up downtown” day based on the offers of help made at the
last council meeting.
Voted to buy $30 worth of
plastic sleeves to help Sue Kepling continue making a scrapbook of village
newspaper articles and photos.
Voted to spend $55 on a
hard drive for the police laptop

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