Yelling, name calling part of recent Groves council meeting

Published 12:16 am Friday, May 3, 2024

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GROVES — A raised voice and some name calling took over a portion of a recent Groves City Council meeting when the mayor removed a member from a service board.

Mayor Chris Borne approved the appointment of Ward 4 Councilwoman Rhonda Dugas as the ex officio member of the Planning and Zoning Commission approximately two years ago because “no one else wanted to do it.”

On April 22, Dugas was removed from the position and Ward 3 councilman Pete Konidis was appointed to the seat.

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Dugas did not go without voicing her opinion on the matter.

According to information from the city, each councilman and the mayor appoint a person to serve on P&Z, and the mayor also appoints two alternates.

The appointments usually coincide with the terms of the councilperson.

An ex officio member, who is also a councilperson, is to be a silent observer and an information resource for the commission. They do not have voting privileges.

When the issues voted on by members come before city council, the ex officio member has background information if needed. The ex officio member is not to direct the P&Z meetings or provide opinion — they are to observe and provide facts when asked.

Dugas contends Borne removed her as revenge for action during a March 25 meeting, while Borne said Konidis showed interest in the ex officio seat, which is his reason for making the new appointment.

Dugas said she’d worked with the P&Z with honor and distinction and doesn’t betray or lie to the city.

“You’re so jealous because I can get something done and I don’t have to coerce people to do it,” Dugas said loudly to Borne. “I’m done with your slander. I’m done with your pitching fits like a little 2-year-old having a tantrum, and that’s what you always do. You pitch a fit.

I’m going to buy a binky so you have a new sucker after you pitch a fit and make you feel better.”

Dugas also verbally went after Konidis, saying he follows the mayor’s orders and votes in favor of what the mayor does.

Konidis softly attempted to speak, but Dugas spoke over his voice several times.

The March 25 council meeting was also boisterous with tension between Borne and Dugas. The reason stemmed from an item placed on the agenda that Borne felt was done underhandedly.

The item — to deliberate on possible revisions to the code of ordinances involving game rooms and gaming devices and setting a possible workshop date.

City ordinance requires two council members to place an item on the agenda.

The item was placed on the agenda at the request of Dugas and city attorney Brandon Monk.

Dugas said she had questions about the current ordinance that came out of a P&Z meeting and she wanted to have a workshop to discuss the issues with council.

Since there were legal questions she went to the city attorney, bypassing the procedure as set forth by an ordinance.

Borne said Dugas circumvented the process by going to the attorney, leading Borne to ask why the city attorney would be placing an item on the agenda without legal explanation on why it was placed there.

“There were questions raised about planning and zoning that I thought you were going to have discussion about, and it needs to be with all council and not with one member,” Monk said.

Borne agreed on the need for further game room ordinance discussion but disagreed with the manner in which the item was placed o the agenda.

“You circumvented the system because you were afraid no one would second it,” Borne said.

Monk explained there is a legitimate need for further game room ordinance discussion, such as the issue of fees. Then fees can’t be at an amount that would raise money for the city, because that would create an occupation tax, which is prohibited.