Sinkhole

Albion Street Department Superintendent Brian Stimpson walks near a sinkhole which has developed to the north of the Dollar General store in town in this file photo from May 2018.

ALBION — The Albion Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday not to renew the contract of its street department superintendent.

The consideration of renewing Brian Stimpson’s contract as street superintendent was an agenda item during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting. Stimpson’s current contract runs through Dec. 31.

Councilman John Morr made a motion not to renew Stimpson’s contract. Councilman Don Shultz seconded the motion.

Without discussion, the council voted 5-0 in favor of Morr’s motion.

After Tuesday’s meeting, the Council president Vicki Jellison declined to comment on the decision, but responded in an email sent Wednesday morning.

“Decisions of this magnitude are extremely difficult but many times necessary,” Jellison’s email read. “2020 brings a new town manager to the town of Albion as well as a new engineering firm. It also poses a good time to change the leadership of our street department.

“We are very grateful for Brian’s service to the Town. Under his tenure many successful street projects have been completed. For that, we are thankful and appreciative.”

The move caught Stimpson off guard.

“I was very surprised,” Stimpson said.

He said he thought he was going to be given a one-year extension on his contract until he received a phone call after Tuesday’s meeting.

He said he hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing. The council is not terminating him, but simply chose not to renew his contract.

Stimpson said he isn’t upset with the town council.

“They can relieve me at any time,” he said. “I was going to retire in a year or two anyway. It pushed me into it earlier.”

Stimpson was hired as the street department’s superintendent Nov. 7, 2016.

The council said it would post the opening for street superintendent for current town employees for 10 days. If no suitable candidate applies, the council could advertise for the position.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

• The council had a lengthy discussion regarding now-euthanized aggressive dogs on Weeks Street.

Joyce Gage, who lives in the 100 block of Weeks Street, was attacked twice, first in February, then again in late October.

One of the dogs was described in Tuesday’s meeting as a pit bull, with the other being a mixed breed.

The February incident led to one of Gage’s dogs receiving more than 40 stitches, she said.

Both dogs were quarantined at that time per state law.

In the second incident, one of her dogs was killed.

The dogs were quarantined again, and then “put down humanely by the owner,” Albion Town Marshal Scott Cole said.

In one of the attacks on Gage, a pizza delivery person was also attacked. Both Gage and the delivery person were sent to the hospital.

According to Cole, a report has been sent to the Noble County Prosecutor’s Office for consideration of charges. He said because it was an ongoing investigation, he could not provide many details, but did confirm the dates of the attacks, and that in the first instance, the pit bull had grabbed Gage by the arm.

Gage and a handful of other residents spoke about the dangers those dogs had presented.

“I lived in fear all the time,” Gage said. “It’s just scary. It’s more than I can handle.”

The residents expressed concern that the owner of the pit bull and other aggressive dog now has a pit bull puppy.

When someone asked if the owner could be prevented from having pets, town attorney Steve Clouse said that was not in council’s power.

If the new puppy begins to show signs of aggression or other misbehavior, the council encouraged neighbors to notify authorities.

“Every time it gets off the property, call,” Morr said.

“It’s what we’re there for,” Cole said.

In the previous case involving the now-deceased dogs, the Albion Town Marshal’s Office followed the town’s ordinance regarding nuisance animals, first issuing a warning, then citations.

“We’ve had numerous calls,” Cole said. “We’ve levied several fines.”

Gage and the other citizens praised the response to the numerous calls made to the Albion Town Marshal’s Office.

“Scott’s been really great about that,” Gage said.

The council asked Clouse to research what additionally could be done with the town’s ordinance to deal with such issues.

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