About 40 residents attended last Tuesday's Johnstown Village Council meeting, mostly in response to proposed legislation that would combine the street and utility departments into a single service department.

About 40 residents attended last Tuesday's Johnstown Village Council meeting, mostly in response to proposed legislation that would combine the street and utility departments into a single service department.

But before residents had a chance to speak on that matter -- and after they'd waited around for about 90 minutes while council met in executive session -- council reconvened and voted to terminate the employment of Sandra Berry, who has been Johnstown's finance director since 2000.

Mayor Kevin Riffe said only that Berry's dismissal is based on "just cause." No public discussion was held on the matter.

Council member Cletus Beam cast the only vote against terminating Berry's employment. He said, following the meeting, that he had no comment on the matter.

Berry also had no comment for The Independent when contacted on Wednesday.

Most of Tuesday's meeting focused on residents' comments concerning the merging of the village utility and street departments.

Resident Mary Webb said she objects to consolidating the two departments.

"I'm not in favor of putting it under one director," she said. "I don't think one department person could be over all that."

Bill Van Gundy, a 42-year Johnstown resident, asked council to delay its decision on the matter.

"This is a major decision that impacts this village for the rest of eternity," he said. "I'm asking you to hold off and seek advice from the residents of Johnstown. I ask you, personally, as a resident, stop the ordinance until you make sure it's best financially. Make sure this is cost-effective. There's a reason why these residents are here."

Lifelong Johnstown resident Terry Henson Jr. called the ordinance "completely wrong."

"We knew when we hired her (village manager Judy Edwards) the budget was rough," he said. "If you put that (responsibility) all on one person, you lose quality. Why not work on bringing things to town. I don't think this is any way down the right path at all."

Village Manager Judy Edwards and Riffe previously said the rationale of the proposal is strictly financial and would eliminate crossover billing between the two existing departments.

Currently the utilities department has seven employees, including director Jack Liggett. The street department has a total of two employees headed by Randy Ashbrook. A third employee with the street department retired earlier this year, and he isn't being replaced because of budget limitations.

Under the new service department, Liggett would be the director. He has been with the village for almost 30 years.

Action on the proposed legislation is scheduled to take place at council's next meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1, in council chambers, 599 S. Main St.

In other council discussion Tuesday, Harold Compton Jr. said his parents Harold and Vivian Compton are planning to sell the Johnstown Skate and Swim. The Compton's have owned and operated the business for the last 30 years.

"We would like to give the village of Johnstown first dibs," Compton said. "We also thank the village for 30 years. We'll be making a decision in 45 days."