December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Wellington trustee, fed up with ‘bullying,’ resigns

Nancy Fisher

Nancy Fisher

Jim Barbor

Jim Barbor

WELLINGTON TWP. — Jim Barbor resigned as a Wellington Township trustee in a blistering letter that complained of “the constant bickering, badgering, and abusive bullying that continues to plague this Board.”

Barbor’s letter, which he read at a trustee meeting Tuesday, states that his resignation will take effect April 1. The remaining trustees will have 30 days after that to appoint a replacement to complete Barbor’s term, which expires in 2015.

The letter focused much of the blame for the acrimony Barbor sees on “the present fellow veteran trustee,” which he acknowledged is Trustee Nancy Fisher.

“I consider myself to be an honorable and trustworthy individual,” Barbor wrote. “It is as a result of all the harassment, abusive bullying, lying and defamation of characters and that out of respect for the best interest and concerns for myself and my family, I will no longer serve on this Township Board with a fellow trustee who has deceived the public.”

Barbor said much of the disagreement on the board comes from a long-running dispute over a newly constructed township meeting hall and garage that will formally open later this month. The township saved for years to afford the $1 million facility, he said.

But while Barbor said he and former Trustee Dale McAvena, who lost his re-election bid in November, had supported the project, Fisher had opposed it and he contends she did so in a dishonest way. He also blamed Fisher for scrapping a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building he had scheduled for last month.

This plaque was a gift from the builder, a township official said, but did not include Trustee Nancy Fisher. PHOTO PROVIDED

This plaque was a gift from the builder, a township official said, but did not include Trustee Nancy Fisher. PHOTO PROVIDED

Fisher said she had concerns about the new building because township residents had voted down a proposal to build a new township hall in 2006. She said she wanted voters to weigh in again before the township moved forward with the project.

Fisher said she feels township voters agreed with her and that’s why she won re-election in November while McAvena lost to Fred Pitts, who said Friday he supported the new building.

“I don’t know what they’re trying to do, but I will tell you I’m honest. I tell the truth. I try to do what’s right for the township and the people see that. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here,” Fisher said.

“I had my evaluation when I was re-elected.”

If anything, Fisher said, she was the one who was picked on while McAvena and Barbor comprised the majority of the board.

She said she has been threatened, followed home, had her hayfield turfed and had the mirror broken off of her car while she attended a trustee meeting. She said she suspects allies of the two men are responsible for most of those incidents.

She said she thinks in some ways the bullying against her continues to this day, pointing to a plaque on the new building that doesn’t include her name, but lists the names of the other elected officials and others.

Township Fiscal Officer Louise Grose said the township didn’t pay for the plaque. It was a gift from the builder, she said, who wanted to acknowledge those who had backed the project.

The letter also accused Fisher of bullying Grose, although Fisher denied that. She said it was more of a matter of Grose not getting information when she requested it. For instance, Fisher said, Grose hasn’t provided her with all of the documentation she’s requested on the full cost of the new building.

Grose said she does feel that Fisher has been picking on her.

“Yes, I think there’s been some bullying done and at times I felt offended,” Grose said.

Pitts, who took office in January, said he’s tried to play the role of peacemaker between Fisher and Barbor and isn’t taking sides in the dispute. But he acknowledged that squabbling has long been a problem for the township trustees.

“It’s been an ongoing issue here in this township,” Pitts said. “There’s always been somebody on the outside looking in.”

Both Pitts and Fisher said they were surprised by Barbor’s resignation, especially considering he attended a meeting for township trustees in Columbus about a month ago.

Fisher said she has been trying to patch the rift with Barbor, and that she and Pitts had agreed to let him sit on whatever boards he wanted in the hopes it would bring some peace.

“I don’t understand where he is seeing any animosity because we have bent over backwards trying to accommodate him,” she said.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.