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June 18, 2014

Tool mayor, secretary at odds

Athens — The Tool City Council held a Special Meeting on Monday evening at the request of City Secretary Makenzie Blaser. The meeting concerning a confrontation bvetween Blaser and Mayor Tamra Brickey, scheduled to be held in executive session was held in an open forum at the request of Blaser.

Blaser said she had already made the council aware of a situation at city hall concerning Mayor Tamra Brickey.  Blaser read a memo she had sent to each councilperson. The memo read in part:

“It is with great concern that I inform you of the events that took place in my office this morning. At approximately 9:45 a.m. on the morning of June 13, 2014, Mayor Brickey entered my office stating that she had requested call logs from the County regarding the ESD’s dispatch and response times from 2009 through current, and further stated that when she got them, she wanted to go over them with me to prove that they had only missed one call since 2009.

“Puzzled about her reasoning for wanting to show me these logs, I asked her why. She said that I had indicated in the meeting on Wednesday that they were not making calls, and that wasn’t true. I explained to her that as of 2009, the City no longer dispatched for Tool Inc., and that my knowledge of the history was prior to 2009.

“Her tone and demeanor at this time turned from conversational to hostile in a matter of seconds. (Following a brief conversation).  The mayor stood at the corner of my desk, pointed her finger toward   my face, and said in a very loud, offensive manner, ‘You better get your facts straight.’

“Still seated at my desk, and attempting to respond in a way to diffuse the situation, I said to her, ‘Mayor, I would caution you to do the same.’ She made a statement indicating that she knew her facts, but that I did not.

“At this time, I referenced her social media posting, immediately following the resignations of the City VFD members in which she misinformed the public that all of the City of Tool VFD members had resigned, and that the City of Tool no longer had a fire department.

“After this statement,  she again leaned over my desk, pointed her finger toward my face and said, ‘Don’t you ever make another speech like you did at that last Council Meeting.’ She then walked out of my office and said, ‘It’s done!’  I agreed, and said ‘It’s done.’

“Council, in my five and a half years of serving the City and the citizens of Tool, I have never felt more insulted, offended or disrespected as I did today. As I have discussed with each of you individually, I am not above reproach and welcome constructive criticism. In fact I feel that without it, a person cannot grow or continue to learn.

“However, the hostile manner in which I was approached this morning by the mayor created both objective and subjective hostile working conditions, both for myself, my co-workers and a civilian who was present.

“This type of behavior makes it impossible to perform the essential functions and duties of my job, and I am seeking council support in order to get this matter resolved.”

Blaser  told the city council this was not the first time she had witnessed this behavior, but it was the worst.

“I have never questioned her authority,” said Blaser.

Mayor Brickey, in response to Blaser, said, “I don't point  at people.”

Blaser's response was, “Mayor, there were witnesses.”

Brickey defended her actions by saying, “I have a rough voice.”

Before Brickey could continue, a motion was made to convene into executive session to discuss Blaser’s allegations. After reconvening, the council voted to ask the mayor to bring problems with the city personnel to the city council –  not to confront the employees, but let the city council handle the city employees.

Blaser said she felt she had  the support of the city council.  “At least it's a start.  I will just have to wait and see,” she said.

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