At the June 7th City Council meeting residents shared concerns about some rowdy behavior that occurred following the May 23rd Board of Zoning appeals meeting.
It is not unusual for interested parties to share opinions about things they see in open meetings, what is unusual is for those opinions to rise to the point of personal attacks, name calling, and profanity. Even more unusual is for it to come from elected officials and be directed at both other elected officials as well as other residents at and after the meeting.
In the June 7th City Council meeting there was a pointed question asked if City Council members felt that disorderly behavior was appropriate or condoned. There has been video shared on several platforms on the interactions after the conclusion of the May 23rd BZA meeting. In the City Council meeting our Mayor was asked if he felt his actions at the past meeting were appropriate and was given an opportunity to speak on the behavior and apologize. The Mayor declined, stating the BZA board’s action in a later meeting ‘vindicated’ his behavior. I strongly disagree. Action taken by the Board were not made based on the hostile behavior after the meeting concluded. Further, the outburst made taking the necessary action more difficult.
After hearing the discussion last night and reflecting on the discussions I wanted to reiterate my belief on community and communications:
I believe related to communications:
I believe being an elected representative is a privilege and the oath I took at the start of my office was solemn, and it included the promise to ‘fulfill the duties of the office to the best of my abilities.’
I believe that elected officials have a duty to listen to the people they represent in a respectful manner, especially when we disagree.
I believe asking sincere questions is not an act of defiance or disrespect, it builds shared understanding and collaboration.
I believe that seeking to understand first is more important than trying to be understood.
I do not condone outbursts, name calling, direct personal attacks, and profanity. Unruly behavior is not in the best interest of our Community, it takes the focus off the issues that need collaboration between City Leadership and the Community at Large. Authoritarian behavior and combative language makes it more difficult for sustainable and active community involvement.
In short being the way we conduct ourselves as elected officials matters. I reviewed several videos from the evening in question and agree that the behavior was put simply – gross.
In the moment I did my best to deescalate the outbursts and I am comfortable with my actions during the BZA meeting as well as after. The City Charter recognizes the Mayor as the official head of the City so I believe his words and actions have received appropriate attention because it reflects on all of us.
In closing, I condemn the personal attacks, they should not be a part of good government. For my part, I will continue to do my best to work with both City Administration and the Community to keep our Springdale strong.
What do you think? Let your elected officials know!
email and phone numbers of all your City Council members are online – https://www.springdale.org/city-council/page/meet-your-city-council
City Administration as well –
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