Wednesday, August 15, 2001

City manager to stay in Lebanon job

Council overlooks felony charges

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — City Manager James Patrick sat silently Tuesday night as he was painted as a church-going family man who has brought business and tourism to town.

        About 70 people — many Mr. Patrick's fellow churchgoers and downtown shopkeepers who have supported him — looked on as City Council voted 5-2 to keep the city manager.

        “This town is running very well,” Councilwoman Jane Davenport said. “I think we've got one of the best city managers we've ever had.”

        Mr. Patrick was indicted last month on felony charges of helping two city officials commit theft in office. Council members Amy Brewer and James Reinhard sought to fire him, but most discussion focused on past controversies and Mr. Patrick's good character.

        Mrs. Davenport began with a point-by-point defense of Mr. Patrick. His changing of the new electric director's time card in spring 2000 — termed a potential felony by City Attorney Mark Yurick — was approved by individual council members in phone calls, Mrs. Davenport said. No vote was ever taken in an open meeting, however.

        She derided criticism of Mr. Patrick for “letting the man go back and pick up his furniture” in Tennessee on city-paid time.

        Only a few people spoke in favor of firing Mr. Patrick, but Mr. Reinhard questioned whether the audience represented a city cross-section.

        “I've got to do what I think is in the interest of 17,000 people, not what one church and a few shopkeepers want,” Mr. Reinhard said.

        Mr. Patrick, 50, was city manager of New London, Wis., for almost five years before coming to Lebanon.

        In other action Tuesday, Council voted 6-1 to lease 27 N. Mechanic St. to the Lebanon Conservancy Foundation. The nonprofit will pay $100,000 toward the $230,000 purchase of the Federal-style building.

        The lease stipulates the conservancy will restore the building within two years. Once completed, conservancy members say it will serve as their headquarters and be available for civic and nonprofit receptions.


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