The results of an investigation into Bethany Mayor KP Westmoreland found he and another councilmember are allegedly interfering with city government.
Westmooreland said the investigation is incomplete because he wasn’t interviewed.
It’s no secret the City of Bethany is struggling. The city has gone through nine city managers in the past decade and are millions of dollars in the red.
This investigation wasn’t what the mayor was hoping for.
“To be a fair and objective investigation, they should have interviewed me,” said Westmoreland. “He actually said on March 12 when questioned, that he would absolutely interview the mayor.”
During Wednesday night's special meeting, the mayor proposed a full investigation be done by another attorney.
Councilwoman Kathy Larsen raised concerns over money and a possible conflict of interest with the proposed attorney involved with a former city manager.
“Why would we not want to get an investigation and truly give our citizens answers,” said Westmoreland. “Why would we not want to get an investigation and truly give our citizens answers to some of the questions that they’ve been asking. It’s all about transparency to me.”
Arvel Williams is part of an online Facebook group called “Bethany 300,” concerned about current issues involving the city.
“It (the report) didn’t come up with anything, new conclusions that we didn’t already know about,” said Williams. “If they interviewed enough employees, they should have got a good picture of what was actually happening. If any of the other councilpersons had done any of that stuff, it should have came out in those interviews.”
Williams believes investigations should be put aside and instead, focus on the city’s financial health.
“We’ve got to get a good picture of the finances and get that straightened out,” said Williams. “We still have water issues that still haven’t been resolved since 2012.”
“I don’t see how a city can truly be trusting and open and transparent when you're not wanting and seeking the answers,” said Westmoreland.
In December, we reported Bethany was in a $4.5 million budget deficit but now the mayor says duplicate bookkeeping entries were found bringing that number down to more than $2 million.
CARES Act money, raising utility rates and cracking down on spending, the mayor says, is helping make up for that.