After his nomination to take a vacant spot on the city’s Insurance Committee was denied by his fellow council members, Ward 4 Councilor Ron Reavis had a question.
“I would like to know how much of this was discussed with you five before this meeting,” Reavis asked after Mike Martin, Matt Malone, Sue Jones, Mike Huddleston and Mike Wallace voted against Mike Rawlings’ motion to accept Mayor Kristey Williams’ appointment of Reavis to take the spot of former Councilor Holly Harper on the committee.
His question was not well received by the five members who voted against his appointment.
“I discussed this with the mayor but that is all,” said Malone. Jones agreed that she had discussed the appointment with the mayor but no one else.
Martin said he had been in the hospital with his wife over the weekend and had not discussed the matter outside of the council meeting.
Mayor Williams pointed out that, according to state statute, her appointment of Reavis will still go into effect in 45 days despite the negative vote of the council unless a resolution is passed that declares Reavis to be “unfit or unqualified” to serve in this position.
“It is a shame that Ron (Reavis) was elected in Ward Four and we already have members from Ward One and Two on the committee,” Williams said. “It is sad that a respectable person was appointed and willing to serve and was voted down in this way.”
Ward Two Councilor Mike Wallace said he was offended by Reavis’ question and Williams’ comments.
“Are you finished?” Wallace asked. “I am offended. There has already been a suggestion that we had a serial meeting. And I am sitting here listening to you lambaste us like an elementary classroom that is misbehaving. I don’t appreciate being cussed out about how we are doing our business.”
Williams said she did not recall cussing at the council. Wallace agreed that no one had cursed but he felt like the council was being “scolded.”
Malone told Reavis his opposition was not personal. He noted that Reavis had worked with insurance as a volunteer firefighter and brings a certain perspective to the discussion. Malone said he wanted fresh, new ideas brought to the committee.
Jones said she had a problem with Reavis’ judgment on the issues of benefits packages for city employees.
“At the last meeting, you said you wouldn’t adjust or consider adjusting payments the city employees make for their benefits,” Jones said. “That is not very open minded and I think other members of the governing body are more qualified.”
Page 2 of 2 - Reavis told Jones her comments work both ways.
“Why should someone who voted opposite to me be on the committee just because it will slant it the other way?” Reavis asked.
Huddleston said he was confused because it seems like the ordinances and statutes the city follows change depending on the situation.
Williams told Huddleston the council could opt out of the state statute governing mayoral appointments if they could pass a charter ordinance with 6 votes of the council.
Otherwise, the state statute was the rule they had to follow.
The five members who oppose Reavis’ nomination have 45 days to draft a resolution to declare him unfit or unqualified to take the seat on the committee or he will take his spot.