Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Keystone Heights Council Mouths off Exchange of Vulgarities Leads to More Conflict

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Keystone Heights Council Mouths off Exchange of Vulgarities Leads to More Conflict

Article excerpt

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS -- A war of expletives between two council members erupted at a recent workshop that also added fuel to a move to replace the city attorney.

Jack Raleigh and Ginger Johns exchanged insults over the city's drug policy at a workshop Jan. 31, during which Johns expressed concern about the legal representation the city was receiving from Sam Mutch.

"I've had enough of Sam Mutch," Johns said. "He will bend the law and he will make the laws based on what Sam Mutch thinks we should do and I don't believe that's good legal advice."

Subsequently, the City Council agreed at its Feb. 6 meeting to ask for proposals from attorneys wanting to represent the city.

Mayor Archie Green said the move came not only out of the workshop where tempers flared, but from several other workshops where the council discussed hiring a new attorney.

Mutch said he is not interested in anything that was said about him in the heat of an argument and remains confident that the council will find his firm can do the best job for the money.

"We don't even bother to listen to things that were said in anger, and I don't believe anyone else should either," Mutch said.

But Raleigh said he was offended by remarks at the workshop made by Johns, especially when she said that Raleigh "comes in here bellyaching like this big ol' cow, like everybody owes you an explanation."

"I felt like someone had poked a hot stick in my eye," he said.

The argument stemmed from a city personnel matter. Johns, as head of the city's personnel committee, had refused to divulge to Raleigh the name of an employee who failed a drug test, even though Raleigh is also on the committee.

As the argument heated up, Johns ended up naming the employee who failed the drug test.

"Well, I may just get myself sued now because I got angry. I let you [Raleigh] get to me," she said.

Johns said that when Raleigh accused her of hiding information from the council and the city attorney, that was the catalyst that led her to use foul language. …

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