Burgin to resign as mayor

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By Jeff Moore

Prestonville Mayor Vickie Burgin agreed to resign as the city’s mayor Thursday when she entered an Alford guilty plea, not contesting a misdemeanor first-degree official misconduct charge of violating the competitive bidding process on a city project.

In a Monday interview, County Attorney Nick Marsh said Burgin must resign her post as mayor immediately in return for entering the state’s diversion program for first time offenders. He said she also cannot seek election to any office for the year in diversion, which allows her to have her record cleared if she keeps her record clean during that time.

If convicted of the misdemeanor, Burgin could have faced up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.

Burgin was charged with first-degree official misconduct following a Kentucky State Police investigation into the hiring of Can Do Construction to pour the foundation and install the metal building for a new recreation center and city hall.

Despite entering the plea Thursday, Burgin maintained her innocence in a Monday telephone interview.

“I’m not going to admit to something I didn’t do,” she said.

Burgin said she did not contest the charges because she could not afford the cost of an attorney. “I didn’t do it … but I didn’t have the money to fight it.”

She said she could not afford an attorney due to all of the medical bills she has from health issues related to kidney cancer. Burgin said she has lingering medical problems following surgery in January

“The best thing to do is to resign,” she said.

It’s something she said she was considering anyway — and that her doctor had recommended — so she could focus on her health. But she had hoped to stay on the job until after Prestonville Community Day on June 22.

Questions over the competitive bidding process came up during Prestonville City Commission’s Nov. 12, 2012, meeting when Can Do Construction co-owner Stacie Hendricks said Burgin had asked them to back-date invoices on the recreation center and city hall project so that it would appear they had submitted a bid when they were opened April 9, 2012. Hendricks and her husband, Raymond, contend they did not learn about the project until months later when work was already underway to tear down a barn on the property on New Castle Road.

Burgin said that Can Do Construction did bid within the proper time frame, explaining that their bid was not mentioned in the April meeting because it was in a different pile. She said she went with Can Do Construction because their bids were the lowest, which is what the city commission approved.

Following an investigation into the bidding process, KSP Detective Michael Gonterman filed a criminal complaint charging that Burgin “intentionally failed to follow the bidding process by awarding a construction contract to a company that was not in the bidding process.”

The complaint goes on to state that he concluded that Burgin asked the firm to back date the contract “to give the appearance that all bidding procedures were followed, inferring a benefit upon said construction company and penalizing other companies who had lawfully engaged in the bidding process.”

Burgin contends the investigation process “was not done correctly.”

She believes the contractor should have been charged for what she said they admitted to in the meeting and then convicted before she could be charged in the matter.

Marsh said he is not aware of any investigation into the contractor and does not expect any other charges to be brought in connection with the bidding process.

New mayor selection process

With Burgin agreeing to resign, Marsh said it will be up to the city commissioners to select a new mayor. That person will fill out the remainder of Burgin’s term that runs through the end of 2014.

The commission selected Commissioner Rae Stevens as mayor pro tem earlier this year, Burgin said. Stevens can handle the city’s affairs in the absence of the mayor.

The city commission meets again Monday, April 15.

Project status

Disputes over the work, billing and problems with the building had the project stalled last fall when Kentucky’s Division of Building Code Enforcement came to inspect the building. A stop-work order was issued on the project.

A November field inspection report stated the state building inspector found that plans for the project were not filed with his office, and he cited a host of problems with the structure. These include structural-steel modifications that the report says may have compromised its structural integrity, poor workmanship on the concrete slab that is not square and not level, and issues with the foundation and the roof.

A bid from Lindsay Construction states it would take $32,960 to make repairs and complete the installation of the metal building.

Prestonville commissioners voted Dec. 10 to take legal action against Can Do Construction in an effort to recover alleged damages from the company.