MOUNT CARMEL — Mount Carmel Mayor Larry Frost didn’t respond to a request made during the citizens’ comments portion of Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting seeking his wife’s resignation from her seat on the BMA.
During the March 26 BMA meeting, Bill Dean of Carnation Lane requested that Alderwoman Frances Frost resign due to concerns of potential Sunshine Law violations occurring between her and her husband, the mayor.
Mayor Frost thanked Dean for his comment last month but didn’t address the request.
During Tuesday’s meeting Bill Dean’s wife, Janice Dean, made the same request of Alderwoman Frost, but this time Janice Dean brought some ammunition with her.
Mrs. Dean played an audio recording from the Sept. 25, 2012, BMA meeting that took place while Larry Frost was a candidate for mayor. Frances Frost was elected alderwoman in 2010, and Larry frost was elected mayor this past Nov. 6.
During the Sept. 25, 2012, meeting, there were questions asked about the legality of Frances and Larry Frost potentially serving on the BMA at the same time.
Joe May, city attorney at the time, told the BMA it was not illegal for husband and wife to serve together on the BMA as long as they didn’t conduct city business in private.
During the Sept. 25 meeting, Frances Frost said, “When I was elected alderman for this town, my first concern was the town and I can tell you, or anybody, that if my husband is elected as the mayor of the town and there is any, any question of me sitting on this board, I tell you what I will do. I will step down gracefully and thankful for the time that I’ve spent.”
France Frost went on to say that she and her husband were advised by an attorney that there was nothing illegal about the two of them serving on the BMA at the same time.
Tuesday evening, Janice Dean told Mrs. Frost, “I’m here to ask you to step down, like you said you would. The two of you have made decisions and worked together without permission of the board.”
Mayor Frost told Mrs. Dean that as chairman of the BMA all citizens’ comments were to be addressed to him. Mrs. Frost didn’t respond to Janice Dean’s request.
“She stated if anybody had a problem with it she’d step down,” Janice Dean added. “So, I’m here to ask her to step down.”
The Deans alleged that Mr. and Mrs. Frost have conducted city business in private in violation of the Sunshine Law.
For example, the Deans alleged that Mr. and Mrs. Frost violated the Sunshine Law in planning an employee barbecue luncheon paid for with taxpayer dollars and in obtaining price quotes for a community message board sign to be placed in front of City Hall without knowledge of the board.
Following Janice Dean’s presentation to the BMA on Tuesday, Mayor Frost thanked her for her comments but didn’t address her request or allegations.
In other business Tuesday, the BMA:
• By a 4-2 vote, approved the second and final reading of a budget amendment ordinance not to exceed $7,000 for the purchase of the new City Hall community message sign. Carl Wolfe and Leann Debord voted no and Wanda Davidson abstained.
• By a vote of 5-2, approved the second and final reading of an ordinance changing the BMA monthly meeting time from the fourth Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. to the fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. The new meeting time goes into effect for the May meeting. Davidson and Debord voted no.
• Heard a report from Mayor Frost that a grant has been approved for the repaving of Carters Valley Road from the river bridge west into Church Hill.
• Tabled discussion of a proposal for the Mount Carmel Public Library to be merged with the Hawkins County Library System to give board members more time to study the issue.