Accusations of Cover-Up at City Council
By Ryan Welch
Councilmember Ronald Allen (Ward 3) said that he would not be a part of a cover-up after the council declined to publicly discuss hiring an accounting firm to do an audit Tuesday.
Allen asked that the city council consider a motion to perform an audit of all aspects of the new transfer station after cracks developed in the concrete due to a lack of steel reinforcement. This is the second consecutive council meeting that Councilmember Allen’s motion was denied.
“Mayor is there something y’all are trying to hide here?” Allen asked of Mayor Andy Brauninger during consideration of his motion. “I want to tell our citizens that I will not be part of any cover-up at this city. For sure I won’t be.”
The transfer station serves as the central trash collection hub for Huntsville. Problems with the concrete developed only 18 months after the completion of the $3.9 million facility. The city is investigating the cause of the failures in the paving of the transfer station.
“Well they had this transfer station built, it’s out, and the driveway didn’t have any rebar,” Councilmember Allen said after the city council meeting. “I’m the bad guy because I ask questions and I’m not going to hide it. It’s just that simple.”
The city council went into a room closed to the public for legal counsel about the transfer station. People sitting outside the room could hear raised voices coming from the chamber. The city has retained The Chapman Firm in Austin for legal advice about the transfer station.
Councilmember Dee Howard Mullins (position 2 At-large) believed that a public debate before the investigation was premature.
“We all love honesty, but it is counterproductive,” said Howard in the hallway after the city council adjourned. “You know you don’t show your hand,” she repeated several times in an exchange with Allen.
“You should know that counterproductive to some is productive to others,” replied Allen to Howard.
Allen’s motion to discuss and audit the transfer station problems failed to pass.