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Walker threatens lawsuit at Sistersville Council meeting

By Staff | Nov 20, 2013

Grievances with city officials were expressed at the Nov. 12 Sistersville Council meeting.

“Another lawsuit is coming,” said Sistersville resident Mark Walker after explaining a situation which he said involved Councilman Bill Schleier.

“I would like to know why it is that certain people, namely a councilman, decide that they have become my cardiologist, my doctor, my pharmacist, my MRI technician, that they have studied, got their MBAs, PHDs and residencies and decided that certain people that are on Social Security Disability do not apply, that they should sit, be quiet, and never try to help people.”

Walker then explained that his disability was a heart condition.

“Instead of sitting home and doing nothing, I try to take what we have and help people with it,” he said.

He indicated Councilman Bill Schleier and said that he would like to know why he (Schleier) had taken pictures of him as he (Walker) was helping to move a donated refrigerator on a self-supported dolly. Walker, who operates Our Town Resources & Thrift Store along Wells Street, said he was acquiring the refrigerator to provide a place for perishable foods and medicines in the event that a power outage happened.

“I would like to know why you’ve taken such a measure,” he said to Councilman Schleier. Walker indicated that he believes Schleier was accusing him of cheating the system. “It’s called libel and slander,” said Walker.

He said the incident had been filed with the West Virginia State Trooper’s Office and stated they would be contacting Councilman Schleier if they had not already.

“Wow, that was pretty dramatic stuff there,” said Councilman Schleier, following Walker’s statements. Schleier did not comment one way or another on these alleged happenings.

In another matter involving a city official, UPS employee Jeff Christner returned to inquire about council’s decision regarding the written apology he requested from City Recorder Julie Schleier. He first aired his grievances to council at the Oct. 15 regular meeting, stating Recorder Schleier had called in a complaint to UPS Customer Service on Sept. 17. According to Christner and the copy of the complaint he shared with the Tyler Star News, Schleier alleged that he was posting on Facebook confidential information he overheard in the city building.

“I attended last month’s meeting about a complaint which was called into my employer. At the end of the meeting I requested a written apology from your recorder and council members and was told by Mayor Doig, and I will quote, ‘We will look into this and get back to you.’ Since then, your recorder has once again called my employer.”

“When did she call?” asked Doig.

“She called the very first day after the article came out in the Star News,” said Christner.

“I talked with her and she denied making a second call to your employer,” said Doig.

“When did you hear about this second call?” he asked.

“The same way everyone else in town does,” she said. “The gossip mill.”

“If you’d like, I can get my supervisor on the phone to verify it,” he said.

When no city officials expressed that they would like Christener to call his supervisor, Christner proceeded to describe the matter addressed in the denied second call.

“What was said is that I was making comments on Facebook while being on company time,” he said. “To date, no evidence of any allegations (against me) have been presented to me or my employer. I am here tonight asking Mayor Doig and council one question. Have you or have you not determined a course of action to take with this matter?”

“Yes, we have,” said Doig. “I talked with our lawyer and she said that if you made a formal complaint, the entire council will deal with it.”

“Why does it have to be a formal complaint?” asked Christner. “I’ve brought in a copy of the complaint (to UPS). It’s basically cut and dry. What’s the problem?”

He was informed that a formal complaint must be made before council can act on it.

“Which means I’ll be back next month,” said Christner.

Christner was then given a formal complaint form. He said that he was open to questions from council and was shocked at council’s lack of questions last meeting.

“What was the second phone call for?” asked Councilman Bill Rice. “Why did she call the second time?”

“I feel the second phone call is retaliation from the article in the Star News,” said Christner.

“Why did she supposedly call?” asked Rice.

“My supervisor called me and asked me if I was on Facebook,” he said, stating that he received the call from his supervisor while driving and had to pull off the road to answer it. “I said no and asked why.”

He said that his supervisor informed him that Sistersville’s City Recorder had called and asked what time he (Christner) started work. He then relayed that she told his supervisor that he was posting comments on Facebook after starting work at 9 a.m.

When asked by council if the denied second conversation had been recorded, Christner said that it had not been recorded because she called his supervisor directly rather than customer service. He went on to say that he could get verification of the call’s specifics from his supervisor.