Minden justice criticizes board for lack of action after flood


For the Recorder

MINDEN -- During Thursday's town of Minden meeting, held in the cleaned, yet emptied and heavily-flood damaged municipal building on Route 80, Justice Frank Alford criticized the town board for alleged inaction following the June 28 flood.

Alford stated that after the flood waters cleared, "the only people in this township that took charge as far as the town building is concerned," were Town Clerk Janet Trumbull, Highway Superintendent Ron Kardash, Court Clerk Josephine Stanley and himself.

He continued, "We had no input from the board whatsoever. To be quite honest, I'm really disappointed. I'm really ashamed of you."

To Councilmember Douglas Simmons, he stated, "It was 13 days before you came up here and saw the building."

Turning his attention again to the full board, Alford asked, "Where was your care? Where were you when Janet, my clerk and I were shoveling contaminated mud out of these buildings?"

Councilmember Todd McFee responded, "We were helping our family and friends, and you have no right to talk to us like that."

Alford, alleging that no board members even placed calls to inquire about the building's status, replied, "It certainly is, because you're the people who are on the town board."

He concluded, "Decisions being made here should not have been hoisted off on the town clerk."

Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush stated, "I actually made a decision on the first day I was here -- I told Janet and told Cheryl [Reese] -- 'don't go in that [expletive] and clean. It's contaminated, we don't know what's in it -- don't go in it.'"

He continued, "safety is first."

Court Clerk Josephine Stanley asked if there is a specific emergency plan in place regarding the Minden municipal facilities.

Quackenbush said that in 2006, a plan was developed by the American Red Cross, with input from various entities, at the county level. That plan, he said, "was thrown out the window."

Thomas said that the local plan, simply states "when an emergency is declared, which we had for five days, that means stay home."

"Safety is first. We disregarded that plan," said Quackenbush.

It was noted by Stanley that there were a plethora of records that required saving, to which Quackenbush responded, regarding the emergency declaration, "We were told with that declaration ... stay away. Let the public safety people take care of it, and if it takes five days to get into your building, and all the records are ruined, what's safety?"

Though Quackenbush commended the various Minden employees for their swift response and dedication, he concluded, "I do not want our people in this building cleaning this mud and garbage and soot, and you did it anyway."