Continued confusion about the Daviess County Confederate Monument Relocation Committee’s role and power dominated Tuesday’s second meeting.
But the committee did raise the possibility of a local cemetery being a potential spot for the statue.
The five-member committee — Chairwoman Aloma Dew, Wesley Acton, Kenny Barr, Anne Damron and Tim Kline — were scheduled to discuss procedures for narrowing down viable options for the final resting place of the Confederate statue located on the lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse as well as an action plan for delivering recommendations to Daviess Fiscal Court.
But as with the first meeting, questions were again raised about the committee’s specific function.
Dew introduced Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly who addressed issues from the first meeting brought up by Kline regarding ownership of the statue, as well as Barr’s question about whether or not the statue actually had to be removed.
Mattingly went on to discuss the specific charge of the committee as well as the history regarding the statue leading up to the court’s unanimous August vote to remove the statue from public grounds and form the committee.
“As I have said, it was a unanimous vote to remove the statue,” Mattingly said. “There is no discussion on whether or not it will or will not be removed, it will. As far as questions regarding ownership, that is not your charge.”
Mattingly went on to discuss cases where organizations like the Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans have tried to prove ownership of such statues and have failed, and explained further that the statue is the property of the people.
“If you have questions about ownership and can’t accept the charge, I recommend that you leave the committee and work toward answering that question,” he said. “Your charge is to provide recommendations. You are to evaluate suggestions from the community and bring them to the court. Once you have done that, the court will make the final decision.”
After hearing Mattingly repeat the charge of the committee, Damron said that if she had known that the statue was definitely going to be removed that she would not have accepted the appointment.
After her fellow members and Mattingly shared words of encouragement about her future on the committee, no matter her decision, it seemed that the meeting would right itself as Dew moved toward discussing the evening’s agenda items.
Barr recommended that the group set a deadline to receive and review community proposals.
“When we have that deadline, we can look at these ideas and their viability and if they are acceptable,” Barr said. “As we construct that list, we can begin the discussion and possibly put in place a polling system that will narrow options down among committee members.”
The discussion continued regarding a timeline without an actual concrete deadline or any other facet of an action plan being voted on or set in stone, as the discussion digressed into a back and forth between Kline and Dew regarding whether or not it was in the committee’s purview to discuss these options with property owners prior to presenting recommendations to the court.
To Dew, the ultimate decision and dealing with the details of that decision laid on the shoulders of the court, she said, with Kline believing that it fell to the committee.
Kline also rehashed the ownership question, declaring that he “owed it to himself” to investigate the issue further.
A portion of the meeting did focus on the 20 or so responses that the committee has received so far.
While some community suggestions were not in the spirit of finding a suitable resting place for the statue, Dew said the most popular response was moving it to Elmwood Cemetery on Old Hartford Road.
“Eight people have proposed moving the statue to Elmwood,” she said. “Others have said move it or don’t move it without a proposal, but voices from both sides of the issue have proposed Elmwood. The cemetery is a place where we honor the dead and those that mean something to us. It is a place where people can contemplate. With Voices of Elmwood taking place there, I think it is a good possibility.”
The back and forth continued after the proposals were read with the committee ultimately only approving their next meeting.
The next committee meeting will take place on Oct. 14 at 4:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on the Daviess County Fiscal Court Facebook page.
Anyone interested in providing the committee with a location proposal can email email@example.com.
Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, firstname.lastname@example.org