The Ashley City Council agreed Monday night to censure Councilman Len Piasecki for an insult and opprobrious language hurled during a meeting late last year.
The decision was made after the council amended its current ordinance to fall in line with state statute. City attorney Aaron Atkins said while the city has language on the books stipulates that any councilman or alderman “acting or appearing in a lewd or disgraceful manner or uses opprobrious, obscene or insulting language to or about a member of the council” may be subject to censure or expulsion.
The new ordinance passed changed the language to include all council members holding office. It was approved 4-1, with Piasecki casting the lone “no” vote.
The issue was brought in front of the council by Councilman Ryan Davis. During the December meeting, When Mayor Linda Gammon addressed Piasecki about his alleged video taping and harassment of city employees, Piasecki fired back and called Gammon a (expletive deleted) liar.
“This is specifically because of conduct during a meeting while we were in session,” Davis said. “Councilman Piasecki called the mayor a damn liar. Specifically in this meeting while we were in session. This is why this is on the agenda.”
The airing out of what happened at the previous meeting continued in the council’s discussion.
“I.am not disputing that one bit,” Piasecki said. “I did call her a liar.”
“You called me a g-d liar,” Gammon said, and the Piasecki continued: “Anyone who tells an untrue statement to me, it’s a lie. Anybody who tells lies is a liar. I figured I was correct in saying that.”
When Piasecki asked Gammon if she continued to accuse him of videotaping, she agreed and he abruptly said: “Thank you.”
Davis continued his argument, noting that the issue lies with what had taken place during the meeting.
“I would reiterate that it matters not what has happened,” he said. “It matters what the conduct is while we were in session. You can call it what you want to call it when we’re not in session, but when we’re in session, there’s decorum that has to be met.”
Davis also explained he believes progressive steps are need to show that all actions are being met to try and resolve any personal issues.
“I believe that he needs to be censured even though he has before,” he said.
Councilman Fred Johnson added: “I think he has had his hand slapped once. I think this time it should be expulsion.”
Atkins said in double checking the statute, he said it can typically take 30 days after it is passed for it to take effect.
“While there was no change to the censure part, you could do the censure,” he said. “However the expulsion part is being changed, therefore it would have to be deferred until it is posted.”
Davis made the motion for censure, noting that he wanted the council to move on from the issue. If another conduct issue were to arise in the future, he said, the council could address it then.
The vote passed 4-1, with Piasecki again being the only dissenting vote.