By Tanna Friday
For The Tribune
ARGO — In the Mayor’s report, Argo Mayor Betty Bradley read a prepared statement of an apology for her behavior during the Jan. 18 meeting and asked for a “do unto others” approach from Council members in future meetings.
“I have a statement I would like to read before we go any further,” said Bradley. “As elected officials, this Council is called upon to represent the citizens of our city. We are all elected by the people to do a job. The purpose of council meetings is to conduct city business. It’s very difficult to conduct the business of the city when individuals rant and rave about issues that are not pertinent to the agenda.”
Bradley’s comments stem from the last Council meeting when a discussion became heated regarding Argo Fire Chief Mike Platts’ temporary status. Councilor Massey requested the issue to be tabled until the Jan. 22 council meeting until Platts had an opportunity to make a decision and arrangements with his current employers. Massey accused the Mayor of having a vendetta against Platt, but Bradley denied and interjected, eventually calling Massey out of order.
“I’m not pointing fingers,” said Bradley. “I blame myself for my part. I was not very professional at the last meeting. I apologize to my constituents and to citizens for not providing stronger leadership. I ask this Council to move on as family and a team and work together for the betterment of our community.”
Bradley reminded Council members and citizens of Argo that the clerk has a job to keep accurate records of all city council meetings. “This is difficult when there is “chaos, turmoil, confusion, and childish behavior.”
“We do not need to be speaking at the same time,” said Bradley. “The treatment of individuals of whom you disagree does not give you the right to insult, berate, scream at, and use inappropriate behavior, whether it be a council member or a citizen. This respect and unprofessional behavior of anyone is unacceptable. We all need to treat each other with respect and be civil to each other. I think we all have the best intentions and want the best for our city. It is normal for council members to disagree over issues, but there is no reason for insults, name-calling and screaming at each other.”
Bradley reminded everyone of the council meeting rules, which she says are simple. “A ‘do unto others approach” and to simply respect and be considerate of others during council meetings,” said Bradley. “People attending these meetings are asked to conduct themselves and apply respectful and professional manner. To refrain from name-calling, how can we, as elected officials, ask our citizens to show us respect if we are not being respectful? I am asking this Council to also show the same respect to, not only citizens, but as council members.”
Bradley said that any inappropriate behavior in Council members will be addressed and will be handled accordingly. “I will issue a warning and ask the person causing the disturbance to be silent,” said Bradley. “If that person persists, I will ask them to leave. If that person refuses, I will ask law enforcement officers to remove them from the meeting.”
Councilor Massey also had the opportunity to respond. “I apologized last meeting for my conduct, and I’d like to apologize again,” said Massey. “I will try to be more restrained, but at the same, I still think that we need to have our lawyer go through a timeline and make sure we’ve done everything right. I make a formal request to we do that.”
City Attorney Scott Barnett asked Massey the type of timeline he was referencing. “From the time we were voted into office, what you can account for it, and make sure we have followed the right procedure for what we’ve done here. I’d like to make a list of things that I am worried about and I will pass it to the other Council members and Mayor. There is just a lot of stuff that I am not comfortable with.”
Barnett asked Massey to pass that information to him. “I say that because, in the event that you all have me look at certain questions, whatever they may be, that’s legal work and privileged.” Barnett suggested that if questions do come that they remain that way until the full body decides to do something.
In other matters, the Council:
–Approved meeting minutes for Dec. 18 and tabled the minutes from Jan. 8;
–Signed contract between St. Clair County and City for road improvements;
–Approved Councilor Tony Alldredge as the city’s liaison on the Safe Room Grant project;
—Reviewed the long-term plans for Apple Grant for Hwy 11;
–Approved lodging for Police Chief Conference in Feb. for $456; and
–Approved Ordinance 2018-01-22 for the City of Argo to participate in the Severe Tax Holiday from Feb. 23-25.