During the Zionsville Town Council’s Nov. 2 meeting, Mayor Emily Styron requested a full council vote in response to her request to fire a town department head.
“The situation has continued to worsen, and the impact it is having on our employees is my most significant concern,” said Styron, without providing further detail.
Styron, a Democrat, did not name the department head. She said the town’s human resources director, Jo Kiel, gathered evidence “from a variety of sources” that is ready to be presented to the council.
The town won’t release the name of the department head or the nature of the accusations against the department head, calling it a personnel matter.
Town reorganization documents dating to 2014 require a deciding vote from the town council, currently composed of seven Republicans, to fire a department head in response to the mayor’s request.
“Unfortunately, the (reorganization) does not offer any specific guidance or procedure for calling a special meeting of the town council to hear the mayor’s reasons and accompanying supportive information that would support taking action on this type of personnel matter,” Styron said.
Zionsville Town Council Vice President Bryan Traylor said substantiated evidence supporting claims against the department head should be presented to the council before it schedules a vote or opens further public discussion on the matter.
“In the past, the mayor has asked that this item be placed into the agenda, and we refused to do so until we were given the evidence that she has to support her request,” Traylor said. “We’d like the reason for that. My stance is, I’m not interested in publicly putting anybody on trial without first seeing that there’s some evidence to support such an item being put on the agenda. I just don’t want those in the public thinking we’ve ignored the request. The request is on record. We appreciate that, and as soon as we have reason to believe there is substantiated claims, we’ll put that item on the agenda.”
Zionsville Town Council President Josh Garrett said he is working with the council’s attorney, Heather Willey, to determine the proper process to follow based on the request.
“We want to ensure fairness to any process for both sides,” Garrett said. “Once that is understood, we’ll figure out the timing.”
In other news, council members said an anonymous town resident donated $15,000 for the Zionsville Police Dept.’s purchase of a new K-9. Earlier this year, ZPD K-9 Jelka, after nearly four years of service with the department, was euthanized after developing an untreatable form of cancer.