Complaint filed against Village President after argument at Mount Pleasant meeting
A Mount Pleasant woman filed a complaint Tuesday, after the village president told her she could not speak during the village board's public comment time.
It happened at a meeting Monday. Kelly Gallaher signed up to speak during public comments. But when Village President Dave DeGroot called her up, he said she was not allowed to speak because of conduct at a previous meeting. Rees Roberts provided the audio to CBS 58 News.
“Speakers are expected to conduct themselves with civility, dignity and respect,” Village President Dave DeGroot told Gallaher at the meeting. “I would say you whiffed on that one. Strike one.”
DeGroot read the rules of public comment out loud to Gallaher at Monday night’s meeting, saying she violated them at a previous meeting-when she used the “F-word” twice.
“It's humiliating because it was untrue,” Gallaher tells CBS 58.
DeGroot says the cursing happened as Gallaher walked back to her seat and he didn't hear it but says others did.
“Ms. Gallaher you're very fortunate I did not hear your outburst because I would have thrown you out of here on your can,” DeGroot said during the meeting.
Trustee Jon Hansen jumped in saying, “ Point of order. That’s enough.
Hansen raised points of order several times while DeGroot spoke, leading to tense exchanges.
“This is enough,” Hansen said.
“You're out of order,” DeGroot told Hansen.
“You're out of order,” Hansen replied.
“You're out of order,” DeGroot said. “Once more and you're gone.”
This wasn't the only outburst. Alfonso Garnder and DeGroot got in to it over Foxconn.
“When I got done I could see the anger in his face,” Gardner told CBS 58. “Then he [DeGroot] started chastising me.”
“Mr. Gardner I'd be careful about what you read and don't believe everything you read,” DeGroot told Gardner during the meeting.
When Gardner asked to respond, DeGroot told him to sit down, leading to this exchange.
“You're going to sit up here and talk like this to me?” Gardner said to DeGroot. “I can't respond myself?”
“Remove this person,” DeGroot said, calling on a nearby police officer.
“I'll remove myself. You're a coward, buddy,” Gardner said on his way out.
“He's [DeGroot’s] out of line, he needs to resign for the betterment of this village,” Gardner said.
Meanwhile DeGroot says Gallaher will not be allowed to speak until she delivers a written and oral apology, approved by him. She says that's not happening and filed a complaint with the village administrator.
“I sincerely hope that the other trustees will look in to a procedure for censuring the president,” Gallaher said.
DeGroot tells CBS 58 he stands by his actions and that Gallaher “has a history of verbally abusing our staff and board members. I feel I acted within the purview I have as president of the village to enforce the rules of proper decorum.
And he added, “If she [Gallaher] thinks for a min that I’m denying her free speech right, she’s’ got another thing coming. I don’t’ have to have public comment at our meetings. And if she and others are going to abuse our rules I will end comment.”
The village administrator did not return requests for comment.