Dover Council grills mayor about Filippi

Dover Council grills mayor about Filippi

Image Credit: File

The most intense part of Dover Council’s Dec. 6 meeting came at the end, after law director Doug O’Meara requested an executive session to discuss personnel issues but then said the issue was Dave Filippi, superintendent of the Dover Light and Power plant, and “it should be fully out in the open.”

Filippi, who has claimed to be on vacation for more than a month and said he will be for the remainder of the year, has been under fire for major cost overruns and unauthorized spending at the plant. Filippi also is rumored to have taken a position with Mountain State Carbon in Follasnbee, West Virginia.

While Filippi has been asked multiple times to appear before council to answer questions about the cost overages, he has yet to show.

On Nov. 15 councilwoman Sandy Moss asked Mayor Richard Homrighausen to fire Filippi immediately. At that time Homrighausen said he would “think about it.”

On Monday Moss asked the mayor what, if anything, had been done in response to her request. Homrighausen said, “Council is not to discuss, in open session, personnel matters.”

Council President Shane Gunnoe said, “The fact that three weeks ago we asked that Filippi be contacted and a majority of council members agreed some disciplinary action should be taken, yet nothing has occurred, is shocking, appalling.”

O’Meara asked Jason Hall, assistant superintendent at the light plan, if anyone beside the mayor and Filippi were involved in the decision to spend nearly $200,000 with Sulzer Turbo Services. Homrighausen said he was not involved in that decision.

“I was wondering what’s more wrong in this situation,” O’Meara said. “Being totally ignorant about $200,000 of expenditures or being totally complicit in it? You’re saying you’re just totally ignorant about what happened, Mr. Mayor?”

“I was uninformed and not made aware of it,” the mayor said.

Shane Gunnoe asked the mayor why no disciplinary action has been brought forth on an employee who did not inform him that he spent $200,000.

“I’ve always taken my time deliberating matters of concern,” Homrighausen said.

However, O’Meara said the mayor has fired people on the spot before. “So for him to say that he takes his time in deliberations — he takes his time in deliberations when it suits his purposes only,” O’Meara said.

Homrighausen admitted he had not spoken to Filippi at all since council requested he do so, and when asked if he knew the location of the city-owned car Filippi used, a 2011 Ford Taurus, the mayor said he did not know. Hall said he also did not know the whereabouts of the vehicle, only that it was not at the plant.

In addition to the vehicle, Filippi has yet to return city-owned property including a Dell laptop, an iPad, a Surface Pro laptop and a cell phone. According to Nicole Stoldt, city auditor, Filippi is continuing to use the phone to conduct personal business.

Stoldt said Filippi no longer has a city-issued credit card since she pulled it from him several years ago for misuse. “On his way to a seminar in Florida, he used the credit card and the city vehicle to move his son,” Stoldt said.

The city received no reimbursement for the charges, and no discipline was ever enacted.

When questions turned to Hall, he confirmed several council suspicions including the following:

—Being asked to solicit donations from vendors for the committee to re-elect Homrighausen on company time.

—Filippi may have been in the power plant office at least twice during his vacation when others were not present.

—A technician from RCR Services was kept at the plant “basically all the time” at a cost approaching $40,000. Hall felt this was unnecessary and now only calls them in for emergencies.

Council still has a great many questions for Filippi, so Homrighausen said he would call him Tuesday, have a “heart-to-heart” with him and ask him to return the city property.

“What about the $350,000 he owes us?” Stoldt said.

O’Meara then asked Gunnoe to call Filippi right then and there. Gunnoe placed the call, which went to voice mail.

O’Meara then asked the mayor to call Filippi, who answered on the third ring. Homrighausen asked Filippi, who said he was at home, to come to council chambers to answer some questions.

Filippi replied, after a long pause and some hemming and hawing, he was not prepared.

“When will you be available?” the mayor said.

Filippi said he needed to “figure it out” and call the mayor back.

“Add this to the list of things that have appalled me in the last year,” Gunnoe said.