Photo by Alexander Willis
By ALEXANDER WILLIS
Thompson’s Station approved seven appointees for the newly created wastewater board in a vote of 3 – 2 at their Tuesday night Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, with Alderman Ben Dilks taking issue with two of the seven individuals chosen.
The seven appointees include six individuals with backgrounds in things like architecture and engineering, with one of the appointees being a representative of the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen – in this case, that person was Vice Mayor Brian Stover.
Dilks took issue with Stover’s appointment, saying during the meeting that he thinks “of all the board members, he’s the least qualified.”
“If you look at our occupations and our backgrounds, we have Brandon Bell who’s an architect, you have Shaun Alexander who’s a construction manager, you have the mayor who is an experienced business manager, and myself who’s a financial analyst – and then you have Brian Stover, who’s a sales rep for restaurants,” Dilks said. “If I’m looking at people’s qualifications and trying to find the person best suited to give advice on building a sewer system, or just bringing some value to the table, to be honest, Brian’s background is the least attractive of the five of us.”
Dilks also alleged the decision to appoint Stover was partly to give Mayor Corey Napier more control over the new body “from behind the scenes,” arguing the choice was more political than objective.
In a written response, Stover claimed to be just as qualified as any other member of the board, adding that over the last year, he had become more and more knowledgeable on the town’s wastewater issues by directly working with town staff and Barge Solutions, the engineering firm currently working with the town.
“Ben is entitled to his opinion about my qualifications, but as with most issues, he prefers to let his personal grievances with people get in the way of moving important town issues forward,” Stover wrote. “Over the last year as Vice Mayor, one of my main objectives has been to become more educated on wastewater, so I’ve been directly involved in working with town staff and Barge on seeking solutions to the sewer issues. Through that work I have come to have a good understanding of the system and issues facing it.”
The other individual appointed to serve on the new board that Dilks took issue with was John Peterson, who Dilks said was chosen only because of his closeness to the mayor.
“He brings absolutely nothing to the table, except, in my opinion, is probably just blind loyalty to the mayor,” Dilks said. “His personal and professional background does not bring anything to the table, whereas the other people either have experience with sewer systems, or [are] engineers.”
Present at the meeting, Peterson spoke out from the audience following the appointments.
“I was understanding that apparently there’s some concern about my being a member of [the board],” Peterson asked.
Dilks responded to Peterson’s comment, asking “is it appropriate to have the audience weigh in?”
The exchange was short lived, however, with the board returning to its agenda shortly thereafter.
Now that the new wastewater board has its members chosen, they will act as an advisory committee to bring recommendations and comments to the town board on future wastewater-related issues and developments.