Chesterton Tribune

Yagelski reimburses utility in probe of missing files

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Earlier this year the Chesterton Utility spent a modest sum on a forensic examination of office computers, when it was discovered, after former superintendent Steve Yagelski’s resignation on Feb. 6, that certain data files were missing.

Now Yagelski has agreed to reimburse that amount, while the Utility for its part has agreed to drop in perpetuity the matter of the missing files.

At its meeting Monday night, the Utility Service Board voted 4-0 to accept Yagelski’s payment of $1,728.12 and in exchange to release him from any future litigation or prosecution. President Larry Brandt was not in attendance.

The “Town of Chesterton . . . hereby releases and forever discharges Yagelski from all such claims, demands, causes of action, or prosecution of actions which it has or might in the future have against him or may have arising out of or in any way connected to the alleged deletion, loss, or destruction of computer files occurring during or after Yagelski’s employment by the Town of Chesterton,” the document reads in part.

“It is further understood and agreed that this is a settlement or compromise of a disputed claim and that the payment and acceptance of payment made hereunder is not to be construed as an admission of liability, all liability being expressly denied by Yagelski,” the document concludes.

“There was an issue about these files, what happened to them,” Associate Town Attorney Chuck Parkinson told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting. “The Utility eventually recovered some of the files. The amount of $1,728.12 is reflective of the cost of the forensic examation of the computers, staff time, and legal fees.”

Spending Moneyto Qualify for Money

In other business, the Service Board voted 4-0 to approve an expenditure of no more than $54,600 to retain the services of consultant SEH Inc., which will shepherd the Utility through the bureaucratic review now being conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of a federal earmark of $300,000 obtained by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, for a re-line of the 18-inch gravity line along Porter Ave.

The estimated cost of that project: $400,000; the earmark, $300,000; the Utility’s share, $100,000.

Interim Superintendent Mark O’Dell told the Tribune after the meeting that the amount of $54,600 is in addition to the Utility’s $100,000 match.

To qualify for the earmark the Utility must complete the project by the end of October. The re-line itself should only take a couple of weeks, O’Dell said. But the Army Corps’ review of the project is rigorous, likely to be lengthy, and complex to the point of necessitating SEH’s services.

“Two or three months of paperwork,” Member John Schnadenberg remarked. “Two weeks for the project.”

Leak Fixed

O’Dell told the Service Board that at least one source of significant infiltration into the sanitary sewer system east of Ind. 49 has been remedied: a leak identified in a lateral for a building on Sidewalk Road in Coffee Creek Center.

R.V. Sutton Inc. has repaired that lateral, O’Dell said, the breach in which was flowing large quantities of groundwater into the system.

Originally, O’Dell remarked, it was thought possible that an Indiana-American Water Company line had broken somewhere in the area, so much water was entering the system. Actually, however, R.V. Sutton determined that the water table was simply exceedingly high and that groundwater was flowing into the lateral through the breach.

Last Thought

Member Jim Raffin took a moment at the end of the meeting to thank O’Dell for his work to this point as Interim Superintendent and noted that “everything is pretty well organized.”

Schnadenberg agreed and added that O’Dell has been doing a fine job communicating with the Utility employees and liaising with the Street Department.

 

 

Posted 6/16/2009