BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
The Thompson’s Station Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed a resolution Tuesday night that would create a dedicated board to handle the town’s wastewater matters.
While that may appear a routine and uncontroversial decision, Alderman Ben Dilks voiced strong opposition to the proposal, saying to fellow aldermen “you’re wasting your time” by not ensuring those appointed to the board would have experience or expertise in wastewater matters.
“You’re wasting your time if you don’t put people on an advisory committee that bring certain specialized skills, specialized knowledge, or certain things that the board does not have,” Dilks said during the meeting. “You don’t just appoint the mayor’s friends, and then take it a step further and give them authority and control… that’s my worst fear.”
Dilks said another one of his issues with the creation of a wastewater board was a previous incident, in which Dilks claims Mayor Corey Napier had excluded him from the creation of the utility board, another town governing body.
“The mayor, sometime last year, created what he calls his utility advisory board, and what he did was he went to Alderman Bell, Alderman Stover, and they got their friends together and created this board and just announced it,” Dilks said. “They deliberately excluded Alderman Sheppard and I from the process, and said they’ve created this utility advisory board. Now they want to put the same people on an official board and give them authority, give them control over the sewer revenues and expenses. The mayor’s friends are not qualified to run the sewer system.”
Napier called Dilks’ behavior “embarrassing,” and said he was “insulting everybody that’s sitting in this room.”
Ultimately, the decision was made to approve the creation of a wastewater board, carrying a vote of 3 – 2 from the board, with Alderman Dilks and Alderman Shaun Alexander voting against it.
Alderman Brandon Bell agreed with Dilks that some members of the board would do well to have experience in wastewater matters, but that much like the town’s planning commission, did not need to 100 percent compose of experts on the topic.
“I don’t think it necessarily needs to be a bunch of civil engineers, or wastewater engineers, I don’t think that’s the case at all,” Bell said. “Ben’s right, the mayor appointed people to serve on this current ad-hoc group, and I think the mayor has a right to get business done in town.”
Alderman Brian Stover was more critical of Dilks’ comments, saying his rhetoric during the meeting was done for “shock and awe.”
“The grandstanding from Alderman Dilks has to stop,” Stover said. “We have to be a cohesive board, we have to be able to work together, and I’m just very tired of being made to look like a fool, from a town standpoint, by an alderman who does not know how to professionally communicate with others.”
The resolution to create a wastewater board for the town will see a second reading by the board of mayor and aldermen during the town’s next meeting on February 12, 7 p.m., at 1555 Thompson’s Station Road West, Thompson’s Station, TN 37179.