Convoluted controversy at Wheat Capital Manor in Wellington has many upset

first_img1) You are being accused of violating the sunshine law by holding a meeting without the knowledge of two other board members. This accusation stems from an e-mail sent to Melissa that said she was not to contact the board members. JP: The accusation has no credibility. Please advise the date, time and location of such a violation of the Open Meetings Law, without naming a date, time and location of such a violation of the open meetings law, it has no credibility under Kansas Statute.McComb: Under Kansas Statute. Commissioner Buellesfeld, Commissioner Ferguson and myself have never met together outside of the Wellington Housing Authority Meetings held at the Wheat Capitol Manor .  However, I can tell you that the Open Meetings Law was violated by Commissioners Guinn and Hutchinson, when they approached my office on November 17, 2014 at 10:42, to discuss what Commissioner Buellesfeld had requested to be added to the agenda of the November 25, 2014 regular meeting of the WHA.  I told them they were in violation and reported it immediately to Chairman Buellesfeld, who sent the Director of the Wheat Capitol Manor an email regarding the incident and asked her not to have anyone approach us at our offices or homes.Ferguson:  The three of us have never met together as a group for any reason especially not to discuss WHA matters. 7) Will you be able to attend a meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 23 at 12:30 p.m. at the Wheat Capital Manor as has been set by the city council?JP: NO. The Executive Director of the Housing Authority months ago asked that the December 23,2014 Regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of City of Wellington, be moved to December 30,2014. I have made plans in my business life and personal life that are important to me for December 23,2014.McComb: I have made plans in my business  for December 23,2014 that I am not able to change.Ferguson: I am unable to attend the meeting on Tuesday, December 23.  Melissa specifically requested the WHA Board meeting to be moved to December 30.  I have scheduled my calendar according to her request.8) Were you informed that this was going to be the topic of conversation at the city council meeting? JP: I was never advised in any way by any city of Wellington, Kans. staff that a petition would be submitted at the December 16, 2014 City of Wellington Governing body Regular meeting calling for my removal from the Board Of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of City of Wellington KS. I was also not advised that Staff members and Residents of wheat Capitol Manor would be at the meeting also.McComb: I was never advised in any way. Although I appreciate the Wellington City Council, I would ask that they attend the regular meeting of the Wellington Housing Authority on December 30.Ferguson: No.  I was not notified and I found out later that the Chairman of the Wellington Housing Authority had not been contacted either.McComb also wanted to include the following statement:I feel that it was very unprofessional for Jim Valentine to call for a “Press Conference (previous referred as Press Meeting)” to commence a witch hunt on member of the WHA Board.  He failed to check any facts before trying to slander me in the presence of the media and Wellington in its entirety.  I feel he needs to apologize to those that were affected by this and although I appreciate his service to this Country in Vietnam, I  am seriously questioning is ability to make sound decisions as a Councilmember.Follow us on Twitter. by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — It was an unusual motion. At its Tuesday meeting, the Wellington City Council voted to continue a discussion for one week later over a controversy that has erupted between some members of the Wheat Capitol Manor staff and three members of the Wellington Housing Authority board.After a 45 minute discussion at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, the council voted to take a recess from an audience participation agenda and  reconvene on Tuesday, Dec. 23 at 12:30 p.m. in the recreation room of the Wheat Capitol Manor at 400 South C Street.Does it sound complicated? Well, try writing this story.Sumner Newscow has broke this story into five segments. The first part involves the background of the Wheat Capital Manor – an independent living center in Wellington and the Wellington Housing Authority board that oversees it. The second involves how the conflict arose. The third involves how the Wellington City Council got involved. The fourth involves the meeting itself. The fifth is the reaction from the three members of the WHA who are being questioned.•••••The background Melissa Hamlin is the executive director of Wheat Capitol Manor a housing center for mostly elderly residents for the past 10 years. Wheat Capital Manor has 95 residents.The Manor operates under the guise of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and must follow federal guidelines through HUD. The WHA board, however, is an authority board designated by the Wellington City Council to oversee the Wheat Capital Manor operation. It has five members including: chairman J.P. Buellesfeld, Kelli McComb, Darlene Ferguson, Alois Hutchison and Dennis Guinn.  An authority board is given the right to vote and make decisions much like the Wellington Recreation Commission or Sumner Regional Medical Center board.The council can designate and dismiss WHA members at its discretion.•••••The controversyIn mid November, Hamlin said she received an e-mail from chairman Buellesfeld stating she was to get an attorney for an item that Hamlin said she cannot comment on publicly but involves a disgruntled family with a resident at the Manor.“I have a gag order on that matter and cannot discuss it publicly,” Hamlin said at a press meeting held earlier this month.Guinn said he nor fellow WHA board member Hutchison knew nothing of the e-mail or discussed the matter of an attorney. That suggested to him that the other three members Buellesfeld, McComb and Ferguson must have met to confer without the knowledge of the the other two.“There was no notification, and no agenda item that marked that this subject was going to take place,” Guinn said. “To me this sounds like a violation of the Sunshine Act (i.e. open meetings act).”Hamlin said she then received an e-mail before the regularly scheduled WHA board meeting on Nov. 25 from Buellesfeld that stated a lengthy meeting was to be taking place involving several issues of concern.“The e-mail said the meeting was going to last 4 1/2 hours,” Hamlin said. She thought that seemed unreasonably long since most meetings occurred less than an hour.However, on the day of Nov. 25, Buellesfeld, McComb and Ferguson did not show up thus not having enough for a quorum. Hamlin said all three members e-mailed her with various excuses. McComb had a family emergency at the time, Ferguson had a prior meeting arrangement and Buellesfeld sent an e-mail during the time of the meeting to say he had a business matter to attend to. Hamlin said she had a room full of residence who were there to hash this all out and get things settled, but the meeting never materialized. So they discussed with the residence about general day-to-day business issues, but nothing about the rumors.Hamlin said after the meeting she told her husband, Mike Hamlin, to take a Federal HUD guideline book to Buellesfeld and McComb, who have offices adjacent to the other at the U.S. Post Office. The handbooks outline the duties of the board and the duties of the executive director, Hamlin said.Then later she received an e-mail from Buellesfeld again asking that she and two other Manor employees and their families not to contact him, McComb and Ferguson until the meeting.“This is no way to conduct business,” Hamlin said. “There are several times when I have to confer with the WHA Chairman when it comes to legal or personnel issues.”Hamlin said she doesn’t know what to think.“They won’t tell me what is going on,” Hamlin said. “I wish there is a way that we could clear the air and get to the bottom of this.“I have residents coming into my office crying. This is a very stressful situation.” Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (98) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +1 Vote up Vote down guest · 294 weeks ago Spell check, residents instead of residence; one is for individuals and the other refers to places. Report Reply 1 reply · active 294 weeks ago +7 Vote up Vote down Guest · 294 weeks ago So in a nut shell, the director is an emotionally unstable person who is probably using a smoke screen to divert attention away from some problem she has caused. I’d start digging through the books to see what is hiding. Report Reply 9 replies · active 294 weeks ago +11 Vote up Vote down SuCo Pride · 294 weeks ago Please tell me that I’m not the only one that believes that Jim Valentine seriously overstepped the boundaries of his authority in this situation. By calling a press conference to address this situation without the appearance of any real research on the happenings at the Manor, he appears to have made an already volitile situation even more so. If the quotes above are ture, I would not be surprised to see a suit of some sort brought against him. Frankly, I would have expected the new City Manager to advise him that this is not a sound idea, and to proceed in a different manner. Report Reply 2 replies · active 294 weeks ago -4 Vote up Vote down JustWow · 294 weeks ago I have always heard there are su****ions of JP for a long time. Is he the snake that some say he is? It sounds like he may be. And Jim Valentine, holy moly! You are a city council member and you make a knee jerk decision like this? I am very concerned about the fate of our city with you making important decisions. Get the facts before you react bud. Report Reply 2 replies · active 293 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Guest # 2 · 294 weeks ago Once again Jim Valentime has jumped on the rumor train and tried to save the world by him self. Maybe he should look in to things before he calls a Press conferences. I think its time for Valentime to do everyone a favor and step down. Report Reply 0 replies · active 294 weeks ago -2 Vote up Vote down WellyWonka · 294 weeks ago Was the press meeting recorded? Sounds likely charges of slander and defamation of character against Valentine and Hamlin will be possible with the bizarre accusations made to the press. Why was Roy Eckert there???? Report Reply 1 reply · active 294 weeks ago -4 Vote up Vote down truthteller · 294 weeks ago You people on this thread who are judging the WCM Executive Director Melissa Hamilin and Councilman Jim Valentine have absolutely NO idea what you’re talking about, and obviously have NO clue of the facts behind this controversy. If the members of the WHA board had handled their duties in a transparent manner, this entire controversy would not have happened. You have a choice to be sheep and believe whatever municipal board members tell you, or learn the facts and make your own decisions. It’s easy to spot the sheep. Report Reply 3 replies · active 288 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down Guest #2 · 294 weeks ago If I was a commissioner on that Board, on December 30 Housing Authority meeting, I would terminate 2 employees for their unprofessional, manipulative behavior. Councilman Valentine seems to have a personal agenda against these three board members. He should seriously consider resigning from the council! Report Reply 2 replies · active 294 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down faganlover · 294 weeks ago A quorum of the housing authority cannot attend the city council meeting and a quorum of the city council cannot attend the housing authority meeting. That, my friends, would be a violation of the open meetings law. Sounds to me like the director woman is acting like Nelly (Little House on the Prairie) throwing little childish tantrums and trying to get everyone stirred up. One would have to agree with SuCo Pride the boundary was overstepped by Valentine. Report Reply 3 replies · active 294 weeks ago -5 Vote up Vote down truthteller · 294 weeks ago Wouldn’t it be odd if someone made a restraining request days BEFORE a “threatening” instance occurred? I guess that would make them psychic, or…. Report Reply 2 replies · active 294 weeks ago 1234Next » Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments 3) The fear is that Melissa thinks she is getting fired and you are secretly planning her ouster. Is this true?JP: Please state that you have talked to sources deep inside this overblown controversy. The termination of Melissa Hamlin as the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE Wheat Capitol Manor has never been a consideration in any way.McComb: I am not comfortable discussing the employment of any personnel, that being said, I do not recall that the removal of any staff has been a consideration of the board.Ferguson:  This has not been a topic of discussion, but I must let you know that personnel issues are to be discussed in executive sessions not in the media. 4) Melissa said she is under the gun because of her hiring practices at Wheat Capitol Manor. Is this true?JP: This is 100 percent false.McComb: I am appalled to hear that anyone that is in a leadership role, would talk to the media or anyone, about the confidentiality of the applications that were received for any position at the Wheat Capitol Manor.  It could cost an individual their job. Ferguson:  How extremely unprofessional for Melissa to make such a report!  Applications are private information.5) The accusation is you did not show up for a Nov. 25 meeting after saying in an e-mail that there would be one that would last for 4.5 hours. And the meeting had to be canceled. Why did this occur?JP: PLEASE STATE THAT YOU HAVE  CONFIRMED FROM INDEPENDENT SOURCES THAT all (3) members of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of CITY OF WELLINGTON,KS  had family health issues, last minute business appointments and last minute family planning changes that caused them to miss the November 25,2014 meeting of the Board of commissioners of the Housing Authority of City of Wellington, KS.McComb: I can’t answer for the individual board members.  My daughter was an emergency admit at the hospital at 10:30, the morning of November 25 and I needed to be with her.  I emailed Melissa and told her what had happened.  I have served collectively 23 years on three separate authority boards, and have missed a total of 3 meetings, as important as the WHA is, I needed to be with my daughter. Ferguson:  Plans with my family for Thanksgiving were moved up and I needed that day.  In all the years on the Board, I have missed one meeting.  Where the 4.5 hours comes from is a myth!6) You are accused of fostering mistrust amongst the staff and those living at the manor by not informing them what is going on. Is this true?JP: NO THIS IS NOT TRUE. I have No contact with the residents or the staff of the Wheat Capitol Manor outside the monthly meetings of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of city of Wellington.McComb: That is a completely false statement. I have No Contact with the Residents or the Staff of the Wheat Capitol Manor outside the monthly meetings of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of city of Wellington, KS. It appears as if they have received incorrect information by someone.Ferguson: Absolutely not!  At the October meeting, Mr. Guinn assured the residents that they could come to us for whatever their needs may be.center_img Enter Jim ValentineWellington council member Jim Valentine received a letter from two Manor residents concerning the controversy, who told him they trusted him to get to the bottom of the problem. After conferring with these two individuals, Valentine decided to call a meeting at the council chambers to discuss the matter with Hamlin, Guinn, Wellington City Manager Roy Eckert and four members of the local Wellington media.“I think we have a problem,” Valentine said at the press meeting. “It appears we need to dissolve the board.”Guinn warned him that can’t happen because under federal guidelines, the Manor has to have a board.“Then we the council should remove these three members,” Valentine said.At the meeting, Hamlin speculated that the only reason why the three members were upset with her was because they did not approve her hiring practices, and did not elevate the people they wanted for a specific job at the Manor. But she said she has the authority to do the hiring under federal HUD guidelines, not them.Hamlin said she was worried for her job, even though she is an employee of good standing by the Housing and Urban Development.Valentine said he has her back and no individual was going to lose his/her job. The WHA board majority reactionSince the meeting, Sumner Newscow sent a list of questions via e-mail separately to Buellesfeld, McComb and Ferguson. .These are the responses from all three which were returned via e-mail, which were answered separately: City Council TuesdayWhen the council members arrived on Tuesday, they were greeted by 56 of the 95 residents at the meeting, who walked a block west to the council chambers.The group presented a petition with 51 signatures from the residents who voiced their support of Ms. Hamlin and asking for the removal of Buellesfeld, McComb and Ferguson from the board.Council members John Brand and Kelly Green expressed their disappointment that the three board members were not invited to the proceedings.“I understand transparency, but I’m wanting to hear all sides of this issue,” Green said. “I don’t think we can make a fair decision, until we get both points of view.”Council member Vince Wetta said he expressed surprised by the meeting’s attendance since he knew nothing about the issue coming into the meeting.Korte said she would like to hear from all the residents but did not think the council should make any decisions.There was considerable discussion on how to handle the situation. Eventually, the council decided to move the discussion from “study items” which is the final item on the agenda to “audience participation” at the beginning of the meeting.The second tier of the discussion involved continuing the discussion so that the other board members could be present to state their opinion.Eckert said the issue should be wrapped up before the holiday.  The council approved extending the discussion to next Tuesday.However, the WHA board already has a meeting scheduled for Dec. 30. In the questionnaire below, two of the members, said they can’t make the Dec. 23 meeting but will be present for the originally scheduled meeting on Dec. 30.During the discussion, Susan Nance, Wheat Capital Manor tenant director, said the issue has created a great emotional toll for the staff and the residence of the Manor. She feared for Hamlin’s health through the ordeal.“We don’t know what’s going on,” Nance said in near tears. 2) What would be the reason for an e-mail that three employees or their families were not to contact the board?JP: Mike Hamlin the spouse of the director of the housing authority of the city of Wellington called  one member  of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority on October 27,2014  and that member felt threatened by his tone of voice. Mike Hamlin on  November 25, 2014 at 2: 16 P.M.  approached the private office of a board member in an aggressive manner and threatening tone of voice  and threw two books at that individual, while they sat at their desk.Mike Hamlin does not live in Wellington. He does not live at the Wheat Capitol Manor and does not work at the Wheat Capitol Manor.McComb: Mr. Hamlin was threatening and aggressive when entering my office one day.Ferguson: Due to an aggressive act by Mike Hamlin towards two board members.last_img

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