A Friendlier Meeting in Friendship City as Erlanger Mayor, Council Work Toward Resolution
Erlanger Mayor Tyson Hermes and Erlanger City Council may not be headed for a showdown after all. In the days since the regular council meeting on Tuesday, the mayor, the 12-member council, and city attorney Frank Wichmann conceded that the city could not function effectively with the deep divisions that seemed apparent last Tuesday.
When council met in a special meeting on Saturday at noon to hold a second reading of three ordinances crucial to counteracting the termination of Wichmann's contract with the city, as soon as Hermes opened the meeting, Councilman Randy Blankenship spoke up.
"We have been involved in discussions, and by we, I mean me, Mr. Wichmann and his daughters, the mayor and his attorney Jack Gatlin, relative to trying to resolve differences between the mayor and council at this point, those differences which led to the introduction of these ordinances," said Blankenship. "We think we have made significant progress toward reaching a resolution of our differences, and because of that we need some time to formalize and finalize some agreements. I'd like to therefore move that we table these ordinances until our April meeting."
The motion was seconded, but Councilman Kevin Burke felt tabling the ordinances did not clarify further actions.
"If you don't come to an agreement, we will have the second reading on this at our April (meeting) or whatever?," he Burke asked.
Hermes answered yes.
The meeting was adjourned since the only business on the agenda was the three ordinances.
"It is looking like we may be able to come to some agreements that will serve the interests of the mayor and of council," Blankenship said after the meeting. "We want to bring down the level of anger and move past disagreements. We may be able to come up with some Municipal Orders when we are through. There are still a number of details to flesh out the agreements. We want to work out something that will serve the city, and we have to delineate the circumstances to make that happen."
With smiles all around and a noticeable decrease in tension from Tuesday's 'draw a line in the sand' impending ultimatum, Saturday's special meeting made Tuesday's meeting seem like a bad dream. Even Mayor Hermes was smiling.
"Randy and I were able to talk a few days after the meeting," he explained. "The three ordinances were created quickly and even with my limited experience I was pretty sure this was not the way they are usually done. I asked Randy why he felt the need to create the ordinances, and I have been trying to understand. I have been taking into consideration council's recommendations as to who they would like to see as city attorney. Right now, the position of city council attorney is not off the table. It makes more sense to have both positions as contract positions rather than employees, but I think the main motivation of the council is that they would like to have approval of who is appointed to the positions."
Story & photo by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor