Monterey chief denies wrongdoing
MONTEREY — A 22,000-pound bulldozer blade rests outside the Monterey city garage, unattached to a monstrous green D8K Caterpillar, which sits idly nearby.
City street supervisor Bobby Farley said his department lacks equipment strong enough to lift the hefty load — which means the city will have to pay upwards of $5,000, he said, to call in a professional to do the job.
It’s a different plan, he says, than what he and Monterey Mayor Jeff Hicks had conceived back in early June as they anticipated the arrival of the bulldozer — the latest acquisition by the Monterey Police Department from an online government surplus program offering free military equipment.
At that time, Farley said he and the mayor believed the assembly job could be taken care of in-house — as in, at the home of Monterey Police Chief Kevin Phillips.
And so on Friday, June 1, the military Cat arrived — free except for a $5,100 delivery charge — to Phillips’s farm in Overton County, where Phillips was to use his own bulldozer to lift the blade for assembly.
But then there was trouble.
Allegations that the chief had, perhaps, intended to use the bulldozer for his own personal gain arose following the June 4 meeting of the board of mayor and aldermen, with some city officials saying they believed the bulldozer should have been delivered straight to the city garage with no pit stop along the way. They also questioned the $5,100 delivery check, signed by Mayor Hicks, who said he authorized the payment from the MPD drug fund but did not know exactly when the bulldozer had been delivered or, at the time of the Monday evening board meeting, where it was or what the exact delivery charge had been.