MUNROE FALLS — City Council will have a second discussion on a proposed reprimand of one of its members at its next meeting on Aug. 20.
Six council members have sponsored legislation to publicly reprimand Council Member Mike Barnes in connection with a public records lawsuit that Barnes filed against the city in August 2018. In a settlement agreement in the case filed in July, all parties "agreed to fully and finally settle all matters relating to the Complaint and the Counterclaim."
The legislation had a first reading at the Aug. 6 meeting.
Council did not discuss the legislation during committee meetings on Tuesday evening, but two residents spoke up about the issue.
Steve Gatto told council he thought the reprimand was the "wrong thing to do … it’s spiteful," adding he thought council spent money "like water."
Council member Allen Mavrides responded, saying that Barnes "filed the suit against me. That’s why I’m reprimanding him."
Gatto said he did not think Barnes needed to be reprimanded, and said, "This is not right."
Mavrides pointed to Gatto and said, "[Barnes is] spending your money," adding that he disagreed with a council member filing a lawsuit against the city.
"This is your family," said Mavrides. "Let’s discuss it. Let’s take care of it."
Gatto responded, "if it’s your family, you better start acting like it."
Bonnie Houck said she was "really upset" about the interaction that occurred between Barnes and the other council members at the Aug. 6 meeting. Houck said she had asked Barnes why he had filed the lawsuit and said Barnes had asked her, "Do you want to live in a city with corrupt police force?"
Houck then asked Barnes, "Is that what the reason is [for the lawsuit]? You feel the police force is corrupt?"
Barnes did not answer Houck’s question, but at the Aug. 6 meeting, had said there are city police officers who have "violated their oath, that have committed felonies, that have sexually harassed citizens."
At the end of the meeting, Houck spoke again and clarified, "I don’t want to give the impression that I think [Barnes is] right and you guys [council] are wrong."
Council’s Aug. 20 meeting will start at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.