By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW – Bickering, threats and requests for resignations fueled Monday’s City Council meeting, starting with public comments by former Mayor Tim Durand.
Durand said he didn’t watch or attend the Dec. 7 meeting, but heard about it.
“I really did not appreciate my name being dragged through the mud by Mr. (Bill) Towle,” Durand said of the city’s newest councilor. “I’m disappointed the council let him go on and on without rebutting him in anyway.”
He said in this town, when things aren’t rebutted, people think they are true.
Durand said he’s “anxiously” awaiting Towle to issue his action plans and remedies for all the woes created by previously elected officials in the city.
“I don’t want to hear, ‘I’m only one person, there’s nothing I can do,’” Durand said, despite saying at the beginning of his comments that he was only one person on the council and not responsible for all the financial troubles that may or may not have been created.
Then Durand resurrected Towle’s alleged 2011 election fraud complaint, which he paid a $150 fine, served 30 days probation and it was dismissed. The charge was that Towle didn’t certify all election petitions.
“Mr. Towle, do not mention my name while I’m not here or I will personally make a … I will personally make sure I follow you,” Durand said. “The last two people that were put in this position by not being elected were soundly defeated when they ran for re-election.”
Towle responded to Durand.
“Mayor, you know where I live.”
“I hope that is not a threat,” Durand said walking away from the podium.
Councilman Elmer Trombley then took shots at Towle.
“Does that mean that Towle is going to resign? That’s what you challenged me to, and you were guilty so you ought to resign,” Trombley said referring to the Dec. 7 meeting when Towle said if Trombley could show that Towle was convicted, Towle would resign. But if he couldn’t, Towle asked Trombley if Trombley would resign.
Towle said, “I admitted responsibility, there was a signature where I did not witness. I admitted responsibility. The charges were dismissed.”
But Trombley wasn’t letting it go.
“Your honor,” Trombley said to Mayor Andy Swift, who heads the meetings. “Number one, he committed fraud. I was told by a Riverview fireman that his relation was there, or some relation to him was getting a petition filled out.”
Trombley said, “You paid a fine and were on a 30-day probation. So I’m telling you, the best thing for you to do is re-sign.”
“Elmer, the city would benefit if you would resign,” Towle immediately quipped.
Trombley said he’d been on the council 38 years and is a “Riverview guy.”
“Your best move was to move the hell out of here,” Trombley said to Towle. “You come up with more scrap than any other council person I’ve worked with. You can pack your bag anyhow cause you’re a short timer anyhow.”
Tensions heated a bit during council comments between Councilors Lynn Blanchette and James Trombley.
Towle was rehashing the engagement with Durand when James Trombley interrupted.
“Point of order, point of order,” James Trombley interjected. “We’re coming up to the new year. I don’t want to do this every single meeting.”
Blanchette interrupted with, “Your honor, I move that we recess into closed session.”
“Excuse me. Excuse me, I wasn’t finished,” James Trombley said.
“You’re right and it’s not going to change,” Blanchette said.
James Trombley reminded her he had the point of order and she questioned the attorney for a ruling. The city attorney agreed that James Trombley had the floor. Blanchette apologized; James Trombley forgave.
“We don’t need all this bickering going back and forth,” he continued. “The points have been made out there, they’re there and it is what it is. I hope we all come back and are ready to do some serious business.”
(Tereasa Nims can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)