Thursday, March 23, 2000

Deerfield, clerk-elect continue battle

Latest tiff is over where office will be

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP — Relations between trustees and township clerk-elect Kristin Spiekerman got shakier Tuesday night, after she attacked the board for moving her working office to the township garage.

        “It is a disgrace to the integrity of the clerk's office to ask me to move there,” Mrs. Spiekerman said angrily. “Even the newest of township employees has an office in the township building, and you guys want to put me in the garage?”

        For weeks, Mrs. Spiekerman had been pushing for a private office in the township administration building on Townsley Road. She told trustees in a March 8 letter that she would “need a private office in which to work and secure the documents and records” and that “(she), and (she) alone, will have access to this office.”

        Township Administrator Hazel Dotson told Mrs. Spiekerman last month that she could move into Township Clerk Ben Dotson's office. But she added that because of limited space, Mrs. Spiekerman would have to share the office with a clerical assistant — as he has done.

        Mrs. Spiekerman insisted she needed a separate and secure office. Mrs. Dotson then decided to move Mrs. Spiekerman to a building behind the administration offices affectionately known to some town ship employees as “the garage.”

        “It's not really a garage,” said Trustees President William Morand. “It's a wing of a building that houses the township's sheriff's patrol and has a vehicle maintenance bay attached to it.

        Mrs. Spiekerman, who takes office April 1, said the new location is unacceptable for a number of reasons, including health concerns.

        “The fumes from that garage come right into that office,” she told trustees. Mrs. Spiekerman added that being so close to flammable materials such as gasoline would pose a fire risk that could destroy vital township documents and records.

        “I'm not moving to the garage, I assure you,” she said.

        The clerk-elect went on to accuse trustees and Mrs. Dotson of trying to get revenge against her for defeating Mr. Dotson in November's general election.(The Dotsons are married.) She added that if the “harassment” didn't stop, she would sue trustees and the township administrator.

        “You guys are at war with everybody,” said Mrs. Spiekerman. “You are at war with Mason, you are at war with the county commissioners, you are at war with township residents. Now you want to make war with me.”

        Wednesday's episode was the latest of nearly a dozen blow-ups between Mrs. Spiekerman and township officials since November.

        “We've got a weird situation here and you can't just ignore it,” Mr. Morand said Wednesday. “I don't know what I'm going to do, but I know we've got to get a handle on this thing.”


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