Malone appointed to council and new president pro-tem

Published 8:33 pm Friday, November 18, 2005

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Edwardsburg Argus
CASSOPOLIS - Outspoken from the audience for the past year at Cassopolis Village council meetings, Walter Malone now sits on the other side of the table - as president pro-tem.
Malone was appointed Monday evening by newly elected Village President Michelle Andrews to sit in her vacated seat. He was accepted by the majority of the new council.
Malone has been charged by Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz with signing recall petitions which he allegedly did not circulate.
That recall targeted Julia Bell, president, and trustees William Curry and Maxine Snipes. Eight petitions for each recalled official were challenged.
County Commissioner David Taylor, an Edwardsburg attorney, was unsuccessful in an attempt to void the original Aug. 2 recall election and prevent the Nov. 8 special election.
Taylor filed a complaint in Cass County Circuit Court, but the election wasn't stopped by Judge Michael E. Dodge.
Fitz had put Malone on probation related to election petition charges and a disturbing the peace charge. After the Sept. 12 village meeting, when Malone allegedly called out obscenities directed to Dan Bates, director of public works, the dormant charges were activated.
Monday evening, Malone challenged Bates again, but this time about a bill on equipment repair which Bates had approved. Malone questioned whether the decision should have come to the council, since it was above the $500 limit allowed. He also questioned whether it was truly an emergency repair.
Everything should be done according to the ordinances set by the council, Malone urged.
Malone later suggested maybe the $500 should be increased.
In Bates defense, Village Manager Art Sciorra said Bates had been making these decisions for 30 years. The repair was covered in his budget.
Asking for an addition to the agenda, Malone also moved to fire attorney Frank DeFrancisco and seek temporary counsel, which was approved.
The council, with new trustees Tim Swenor and Leon Gilliam joining Vince Hawkins, Bob Yoder and Clare Mallo will also be evaluating the performance of Sciorra, in January, within the time frame of his contract to inform him if changes are going to be made in his position.