MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

June 8, 2014

FG woman, mayor in dispute over meeting

Request to speak to trustees about flooded home denied because of ownership rules

When a Fort Gibson resident attempted to turn in a request to speak at the town’s Board of Trustees’ regular meeting, the mayor would not accept her request.

“They know they are in trouble,” said the resident, Kyrstin Willey. “They are trying to shut me down.”

Willey’s home was one of those on East South Avenue that sustained extensive damage after the Memorial Day flash floods poured more than 3 inches of rain in one hour on the town.

Fort Gibson Mayor Brad Clinkenbeard said Willey should not be allowed to address the board about the issue because she is not the owner of the house.

“We as the board have been advised by our lawyer that the issue with the flood and homes should be addressed by the owner of record,” Clinkenbeard said.

Willey, who lives in the home, said she is the trustee of her grandparents’ property, but not on the house loan.

“The loan is in my grandmother’s name, and the deed is in my grandparents’ name,” she said.

Clinkenbeard said that if Willey produced documents to prove she is the executor of the trust, she would be able to speak.

“I’m not trying to keep anybody from talking,” Clinkenbeard said. “It’s just the legality of it.”   

The request form for the regular meeting states that requests must be submitted to the town administrator by noon of the Thursday before the meeting in order to be placed on the agenda. It also states that the board of trustees encourages participation from all its citizens.

Willey said she filled out the request and turned it in on time. She received a phone call from the mayor informing her that she could not speak.

Fort Gibson was visited by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality on May 2 and 3 after a resident filed a complaint about sewage backup.

The DEQ ran tests at the residence, then informed town officials that they needed to elevate the manhole lids on East South Avenue.

Fort Gibson city workers installed elevated manhole covers Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the DEQ said no decisions had been finalized in regards to an order or violation notice from DEQ to the town.

Posted with the agenda for the Monday meeting was a new document stating that the board will not tolerate personal attacks on its members, the town’s administrative staff, or any town employee.

Willey said she would not be attending the meeting on the advice of her attorney.

“My attorney advised us not to go,” Willey said. “We are waiting to get information from the DEQ.”

Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or ehillin@muskogeephoenix.com

If you go

WHO: Fort Gibson Board of Trustees.

WHAT: Regular meeting.

WHEN: 6 p.m. today.

WHERE: Town Municipal Building, Assembly Hall, 200 W. Poplar Ave., Fort Gibson.

INFORMATION: (918)478-3551.

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