City of Ely Mayor Melody Van Camp sat down with the The Ely Times to answer some questions regarding her and the city council’s entering of a closed railroad office on the afternoon of Sept. 2. Here is the full interview with Mayor Van Camp.
The Ely Times: Why did the city and the city’s auditor approach the railroad for information on a day their offices were closed?
Van Camp: We had all rights and our attorney told us that. We didn’t want to cause any problems and be fast about it. We knew that the railroad was closed but we also knew that there would be people there to let us in. Can you imagine what it would’ve been like had we shown up on Wednesday when there were visitors there? We didn’t want to make a production out of it.
The Ely Times: What is your response to the railroad employees who said that they were harassed?
Van Camp: I did not harass anyone. I didn’t. Bruce [Setterstrom] was the same way. He said hello to one employee, aside from knocking on the door. There was one person in the gift shop and another person in the other building and we said hello. As far as harassment, that was not the case.
The Ely Times: If you had the chance to go back, would you have gone about this the same way, or would you have done things differently?
Van Camp: I would’ve done the forensic audit months ago. I probably would not have done the Ad-Hoc committee and moved straight to the audit. But that was before me. There was problems going on with the railroad a long time ago and I think something should’ve been done then.
The Ely Times: Do you consider the Ad-Hoc committee a failure?
Van Camp: I don’t think it was going anywhere.
The Ely Times: What do you think of the notice of intent for a recall petition being filed to try and remove the entire city council?
Van Camp: I’m disappointed that people don’t want to face the truth but we were elected and appointed to do a job. We only want the best for the city and the railroad and we are going to move forward with the forensic audit.
The Ely Times: Is the final price of the forensic audit going to remain at the $10,000 that was approved at the city council meeting on June 26? Or do you expect that number to increase as the audit continues?
Van Camp: They allocated $10,000. I think that once we get some feedback from the forensic audit and see what the auditor has to say about it, then I’m assuming they’ll decide to move forward with more money if it warrants that. We still have to send more paperwork to the auditor. Originally, the auditor requested some documents. We had some of them but we needed the railroad’s help to get some of the other ones. That is why I sent a letter to all of the management board members, including the two new ones, to give them some time to get those documents for the auditor. Those items have to be taken care of. I hope to hear back from the auditor in six weeks.
The Ely Times: Where does the city council and yourself go from here?
Van Camp: We are not giving up. We are staying the course until we all get recalled [laughs]. We are serious about this.