Traffic ticket causes uproar

Cargo gets advance on salary to pay for violation

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— The story spread up Oak Creek's Main Street as fast as fire following a stream of gasoline. The town of Oak Creek paid Mayor Cargo Rodeman's traffic ticket.

Last week, Rodeman asked the town for an advance on her $85-a-month mayoral salary to pay a $30 ticket for improper passing.

The ticket was issued by the Sheriff's Office on Sept. 26 by Sgt. Richard Wood.

Oak Creek town policy states any town employee must request pay advances in writing to the town treasurer and the advance will be deducted in full from the employee's regular paycheck. Employees can ask for advances up to three times in a 12-month period.

The problem occurred, and the gossip began, when the advance was paid directly to the Sheriff's Office with a town check by treasurer Jo Dee Stordal.

Sheriff John Warner confirmed his office had received a check from the town of Oak Creek paying for the $30 ticket.

"I'm concerned because this is unethical," said resident Sonja Norris. "I do not remember a request (to pay the ticket) come before the Town Board.

"It was an advance to (Cargo), but it looks like they are paying for her bills," Norris said.

"In my mind, everything (with the check) is on the up and up," Stordal said. "Anyone who wants to come in and look at the file is welcome."

Rodeman received the ticket when she passed an unmarked sheriff's vehicle on her way to Steamboat Springs to return a U-Haul she used to collect free redwood for a deck at the senior citizen apartments in Oak Creek.

Stordal admitted she paid the ticket for Rodeman and that it was recorded in the books as a payroll advance.

Rodeman said the town has not paid any of her other bills. This is the first time.

Since Rodeman took office in early April of this year, she has increased her hours at Town Hall to the point where she works only one day a week at her convenience store job and relies on scratch ticket winnings and rent from her tenant to pay her mortgage and other bills.

Rodeman's phone was shut off recently because she could no longer afford to pay the bill.

"While I sympathize with her," Norris said, "(being the mayor) is a volunteer position. Instead of crying poor mouse in the newspaper, I think she should go out and get work."

Rodeman defended herself.

"I've been a single mother of three kids and various foster kids, but I was always able to pay my bills," she said. "As I see it now, I can lose all my possessions and do a good job as mayor or I can get a real job and do piss poor work (in office)."

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