New Carlisle inquiry into council member could be ‘misunderstanding’

An investigation approved by the New Carlisle city council into one of their own members might be a big misunderstanding.

That’s according to council member Bill Cook, who made the motion to investigate a council member during the July 1 regular council meeting. However, which member is being investigated and for what has been kept a secret from the public.

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The motion allowed New Carlisle City Manager Randy Bridge to start the investigation.

Cook said at the meeting he felt it was best to keep the details of the investigation under wraps until it is thoroughly investigated.

“If the investigation turns out that the council member did something wrong, then we would have room for a charter violation and action to be taken against that council member,” Cook said. “If it proves to not be a fact, then I think the action is dead in the water.”

Bridge told the council that his understanding is there was some sort of accusation that accused a council member of ordering a deputy to do something — even though the charter prohibits council members of directing any contracted employee.

“There is a suspicion that a council member had directed contracted deputies,” Bridge said. “During the fireworks, after the fireworks, that will come out during the investigation.”

The council approved the investigation in a five-to-two vote. Vice Mayor William Lindsey said he wasn’t at the fireworks but still had many questions about the investigation. He voted no.

“I think if there’s going to be an investigation done before we vote on this, I think the council should know who we’re investigating. That’s what I think,” he said. “It seems to me it could possibly be a witch hunt, for whatever reason. I’m going to say no.”

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The newest council member, Amy Hopkins, also joined Lindsey in voting no. Cook, Ronald Cobb, Mike Lowery, Chris Shamy and Becky Mckenzie approved the investigation.

The Springfield News-Sun filed a public records request with the city on July 2 requesting all emails sent from or to Bridge about the investigation along with any documents that may disclose what the investigation is about.

The city responded that day confirming it received the records request. It pointed out the regular meeting was video recorded online and promised a response to the request. They then sent an email on Monday with only the minutes of the July 1 meeting.

The video does not identify which council member Cook is seeking to investigate.

Cook told the Springfield News-Sun this week that no records have been created from the investigation.

“What has been said so far has been hearsay, there has been nothing on paper, nothing on tape and nothing on digital,” he said. “I believe it is going to come out as a big misunderstanding, a he-said-she-said and nobody is going to be able to get to the bottom of whether it happened.”

The city said in its response to the records request that the investigation is not completed and will update the response as needed.

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