Commissioners moving beyond feudJanuary 17, 2014
By TONY RAAP
Herald Staff Writer
Dubois County Commissioners Larry Vollmer and Randy Fleck say they have moved past a nasty public feud, though both still disagree over the details that led to the infighting.
At issue is whether the commissioners formally approved a $26,000 road-paving project near the Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds.
The dispute came to a head last week when Fleck was elected as the board’s president, a normally amicable process done each January. Vollmer opposed the move, saying Fleck was at the center of the controversy surrounding the roadwork.
In August 2009, county workers paved Deer Trail Road off State Road 64 west of the Bretzville Junction with chip and seal. Vollmer claims Fleck demanded to county highway personnel that the road be paved even though the commissioners had not voted on the project. Fleck argues the board did agree to pave the road.
According to county records, the topic was discussed at several commissioners’ meetings, but there is no mention of an up-or-down vote. Not all roadwork needs to be formally approved.
The commissioners are in charge of paving projects in their district. Each year, money set aside for chip-and-seal work is divided among each district.
A commissioner can spend the chip-and-seal money on a road in his district without formal approval from other board members. In this case, that is what Fleck did, said Steve Berg, the county’s highway superintendent.
But Vollmer believes that the roadwork should have been put to a vote.
“That’s the reason I couldn’t support him for president,” he said of Fleck.
Fleck said the other commissioners were involved in the discussions. He pointed out that paperwork related to the project includes Vollmer’s signature.
Last week, Vollmer claimed his signature must have been forged, an accusation he now regrets. He lost his temper, he said.
“I probably never should have said it,” said Vollmer, who now admits his signature was not forged.
“There’s no way I would forge a person’s name,” Fleck said.
Both he and Vollmer said they wanted to put the dispute behind them.
“I’m through with it. I said what I needed to say,” said Vollmer, who later added, “Business will go on as usual.”
Fleck said he doesn’t hold grudges.
“We just need to work together and move on,” he said.
Commissioner Doug Uebelhor said he has tried to remain neutral. The roadwork was done before he was elected in 2010.
“We’ll see how the next meeting goes,” Uebelhor said. “I hope they move past it like they said they will.”
The commissioners, who normally meet the first and third Monday of each month, will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Dubois County Courthouse Annex. The building will be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Contact Tony Raap.
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