New Carlisle City Council elected Ethan Reynolds as Mayor in their first meeting of 2018.
The election was not without controversy, though.
Outgoing Mayor Mike Lowrey read a prepared statement once he and Reynolds were nominated.
Lowrey outlined his accomplishments for the city, including work with the Heritage of Flight Committee and the annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop.
He informed council that he had contacted a “newly elected council member” soliciting his vote. He quoted the council member as saying, “I agree with you 100%. You have done a wonderful job for the city and as Mayor, but I have made a commitment and I must honor that commitment.”
Lowrey said he asked the member the nature of the commitment.
The council member said that he was approached by two current council members about running for council. The member reportedly told the other two that he questioned whether his health would permit a campaign. Lowrey said that the new member said that the two current members said that they would help the new member get elected if he would vote for them for Mayor and Vice Mayor.
“This sort of action from two current council members is completely unethical and potentially illegal by the standards in which elected officials are held,” said Lowrey. “There is no place for this type of behavior on New Carlisle City Council.”
Lowrey urged the newly elected council member to reconsider his decision.
Council member Aaron Leighty asked both newly elected members Ronald Cobb and Bill Cook if they were approached by Reynolds and Council Member William Lindsey with such a proposition. Cobb said “no.”
“That is possibly a halfway truth,” said Cook. “I don’t believe that there was anything unethical involved.”
“You [Reynolds] called me heartless, brainless and I have no courage,” said Leighty, “And you referred to yourself as a spine of steel.”
Leighty also complimented Lowrey for his work for the city.
Shawn Cobb, a Bethel Twp. resident and son of Ronald Cobb, addressed council saying, “I sit here and watch everybody and it’s like using your personal vendettas against each other, throwing up all this nonsense.”
“The people elected you guys to do a job,” the younger Cobb continued, “They didn’t elect you to sit up here and argue with each other and pull dirt to make this person look bad.”
“You have to work as a team,” said Cobb. “You can’t work divided or nothing will get done.”
Reynolds, Lindsey, Cook and Cobb voted for Reynolds as Mayor.
The same four also voted for William Lindsey as Vice Mayor.
Council member Jim Leathley then read a prepared statement, claiming that another council member accused him of having no backbone, being a “tax and spend liberal,” and of being “one of the good old boys” on Facebook.
When Leathley referred to Reynolds as a “narcissistic adolescent,” Reynolds ruled him out of order.
Reynolds cited Robert’s Rules of Order, disallowing one member to verbally attack another member.
Leathley expressed concern that “two council members have engaged in collusion with candidates, promising to assist with their campaigns, in exchange for their promise to vote for them for the position of mayor and vice mayor.”
“I am disgusted with this deceitful, unethical, and (in my opinion) illegal activity,” said Leathley.
When Leathley, referring to the “unethical practices outlined above,” said “If people are willing to engage in deceitful activity merely over who is going to be in charge of conducting a business meeting,…”
At that point, Leathley was again ruled out of order by Mayor Reynolds at the request of Legal Director Lynnette Dinkler.
Lowrey then stated that “there is a very valid and interesting finish to this letter” and asked that Leathley be allowed to continue.
Dinkler then suggested that a more appropriate time to finish the letter would be during “Other Business” on the agenda.
Leathley finished his letter at that point, tendering his resignation from City Council effective at the end of the meeting.
Leathely again attacked Reynolds without mentioning his name, stating that within 30 minutes of the end of the meeting, there would be a post on Facebook calling his resignation “sour grapes,” adding that “The person doing the posting is not accustomed to posting the truth.”
“I’m looking forward to serving the people of New Carlisle,” said Reynolds on his election. “I know some people were obviously upset with the result, but so goes politics.”
Reynolds also called the accusations of collusion “a bunch of baloney.”
He said the focus of council now will be fiscal responsibility, details and transparency.
The next regular meeting of the New Carlisle City Council will be on Tuesday, January 16 at 7:00 p.m. at the Smith Park Shelter House. The public is always welcome.
Clerk of Council Gene Collier administers the Oath of Office to Bill Cook and Ronald Cobb. Also taking the oath was Aaron Leighty.