Thursday, October 9, 2003

Free-storage perk is over

Two township officials kept boats and RV on public property

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - At the request of township Trustees Jose Alvarez and Catherine Stoker, Administrator Dave Gully agreed Wednesday to move his sailboat off township property.

In what some locals are now dubbing "Storagegate," Gully has conceded he stored his sailboat for free at the township's safety services building for the past two months. Trustee Dave Tacosik also has admitted he stored his sailboat and a 35-foot-long RV for free at the police impound lot, but moved it this week after the Enquirer reported it.

"We have gotten a big response out of this issue from citizens," Alvarez said Wednesday. "Whenever an issue that really takes away focus from what's important stirs up a lot of negative feelings, that's an embarrassment. It's also something that has to be rectified."

Gully declined to comment Wednesday.

Trustees want a written policy as soon as possible for storage of private items belonging to community non-profit groups on township property. They also want a legal opinion about the potential liability to the township. The matter will be discussed at Tuesday's 7 p.m. meeting.

Meanwhile, trustees and Gully still are receiving complaints from upset residents. Robert Hasselfeld Sr. said he telephoned Gully Wednesday morning and asked him why he told the Enquirer he wouldn't move his boat unless the trustees told him to.

"It's got a lot of people upset out here because we have a lot of boat owners and we have to pay to store our boats," said Hasselfeld, 67. "Tacosik just acts like whether it's right or wrong, it wasn't hurting anybody.

"I asked Mr. Gully who he thought he was and he said, 'I'm just me' and I said 'Well, you need some oversight.' "


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