MANCHESTER – Sparks flew at the Village of Manchester Village Council meeting on Tuesday, June 2 when council members passed a vote of no confidence regarding Mayor Troy Jolly.
Issues arose when Manchester Fire Chief Rick Bowman accused Jolly of threatening Monroe Township trustees after council unanimously passed a resolution on May 22 that authorized an agreement between Manchester and Monroe Township. That resolution allowed the two fire departments to merge, with Bowman in charge of both departments.
The day before, Jolly attempted to become the new fire chief for Monroe Township but the trustees decided to have Manchester take over citing a need to restructure and work together with a fire department that could provide training to the small township.
Jolly claimed he only has tried to find out from auditors if it’s legal to intermingle money from a village and a township to fund the merged fire department.
“The only question I have raised, which I think is very valid, is ‘Can you intermingle money from two tax levies such as Manchester and Monroe Township,’” Jolly said. “That question has not been answered by the auditors. I have never seen this happen before.”
A call by the People’s Defender to the Ohio Auditor’s Office discovered it is not uncommon for cities and townships to enter into shared service agreements, including fire department services.
“It is not uncommon for two entities to contract services with each other,” said Brittany Halpin, press secretary for the Ohio Auditor’s Office.
The question Jolly brought up prompted responses from members of the Manchester Council regarding the agreement the village has had with Sprigg Township, where the Manchester Fire Department provides service. Bowman says his department has provided coverage for Sprigg since 1974.
“What’s the difference between this and our contract with Sprigg Township?” Council member Bob Hilderbrand asked. “What this amounts to is nothing more than somebody acting with malice, purpose and in bad faith of the people of the village.”
Bowman and members of the Manchester Council believe Jolly is attempting to throw a wrench into the contract between Manchester and Monroe Township after he wasn’t hired as fire chief of Monroe Township.
“This isn’t an issue about you asking questions,” council member Teresa Blyth said looking toward Jolly. “The questions come after you don’t get your way. Nobody has an issue with you making sure things are done right. You just do it after things don’t go your way.”
Jolly believes the reason Hilderbrand brought up a vote of no confidence was to help with his election campaign as he plans to run against Jolly in the next election for mayor of Manchester.
“The malicious act would be Bob Hilderbrand bringing it to the floor,” Jolly said. “He’s running against me and bringing that up was campaign work. He’s running for the mayorship against me.”
In other matters, the council also unanimously approved the hiring of a new solicitor, Rachel Triplett of Georgetown.
“I believe Rachel will be an asset to the village in legal matters who will be fair and impartial,” Jolly said.