Editor’s note: The writer states she emailed this letter to the mayor and then shared it with us for publication. We welcome the mayor’s response if he chooses to provide one.
I was in the gallery at the City Council meeting on October 8, 2019. I watched as the investigator read his findings, listing the summary of the actions that brought everyone to that meeting on that evening.
I watched as the other council members and city employees were visibly uncomfortable and you were leaning back in your chair unphased, with no expression. Even when the vote was made that you would be censured you were still oblivious to the graveness of the matter at hand. How do I know; because of your response in an interview immediately after the meeting was over.
When asked your thoughts about changing your approach and demeanor, you said, “Don’t see any other reason to go any other way.”
The reporter, David May, of the Mineral Wells Index, asked, “You don’t see any reason to change the way you react with council members or other people based on their comments?” You said that council member Tomlin stated that this meeting was done well. But you failed to hear the other things he said and what the other council members said about your approach and demeanor toward them as well. So, let me remind you. Here are some comments:
• City Council meetings with utter chaos.
• Continued pattern of harassment.
• Your approach toward people is not condoned.
• Pleas for you to work on your approach with council and city employees.
• The city manager referred to your demeanor as “divisive and unbearable.”
In a 6-0 vote, Mineral Wells City Council on Tuesday evening issued a reprimand to Mayor Christopher Perricone after an independent investigator found three of 13 identified complaints against the mayor violated the city's charter.
However, based on your words, you don’t see a reason to do any work to improve your approach and demeanor with people. This is disturbing to me. As a citizen of this city, I would hope that the mayor would lead by example. Unfortunately, this is not the case and you have made clear you have no intention to change.
I am saddened that this city will have a leader with this kind of disdain for the council he works with, the city employees and, by extension, the citizens of this city and even the city itself until the next election.
Here is the full investigative report, including the original complaint filed by City Clerk Peggy Clifton, regarding the alleged charter viola…
Your wish in that interview was for people to know the actual allegations that were being alleged. I can help with that. Reading from the investigator’s findings packet, made public on October 9, here are just some of the items:
• Intimidating and demanding – the report does say that you didn’t raise your voice or use profanity (thank goodness). Unfortunately, those are not the only things that can be construed as rude or disrespectful. Humiliation does not require a loud voice or profane language.
• Creating a hostile work environment including public humiliation and embarrassment.
• Allowing citizens to publicly speak ill of anyone, including city employees.
• Blatant disregard in refusing to handle/manage city council meeting according to the rules that have been set forth
• Taking legal documents and altering them, putting city employees and the city at risk.
• Attempting to influence and manipulate.
It would seem by your words these are things you are proud of. I am ashamed that even a few of these words would be used to describe a leader of my city. Further, I am appalled that said leader would actually be proud of these descriptions.
I understand that you see the ruling as a “reprimand” from the council. You were censured. In case you are not familiar with this word, censure means (source www.merriam-webster.com):
• A judgment involving condemnation.
• The act of blaming or condemning sternly.
• An official reprimand.
• Generally given due to unorthodox practices and other misconduct.
In conclusion, I think you knew exactly what you were doing. The rules did not suit you or your agenda, so you looked for ways to get around them, tried to influence, manipulate and intimidate anyone that would dare to stand in your way, and you were called out on it.
I applaud the city employees that put in formal complaints against you. They are the strong and principled ones. You could learn a few things from their example(s).
I firmly believe that this should have gone to a hearing, which I am sure would have concluded with you being removed from office so you could no longer cause such distress to our town, its employees and its citizens. It is only due to the mercy of the council, and their love of Mineral Wells, that we are not moving forward with the hearing.
So next time you look at one of the council members with the intent to hurl one of your snarky comments at them, just remember that you are only still in the position of mayor because of their mercy on October 8, 2019.
Bridgette Goldstein, Mineral Wells