Mayor David Mayfield is a “chicken sh*t,” a Marion resident said during public comment at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Ryan Newell challenged Mayfield’s assertion that he didn’t know Chief Gideon Cody planned to raid the Record newsroom, the home of its co-owners, and the home of Vice Mayor Ruth Herbel.
“You knew. You absolutely knew. Brogan knew,” Newell said, referring to city administrator Brogan Jones. “You went to talk to Chief Cody. Please explain to the citizens what you discussed with the chief.”
Mayfield told the Record on Aug. 25 that he met with Cody on Aug. 4 about an investigation that involved Herbel. On Tuesday Mayfield said the meeting was Aug. 8.
“I told him I didn’t want to know anything after that,” Mayfield reiterated Tuesday.
“You had no knowledge of the raid?” Newell pressed, noting that Mayfield, a former police chief and city administrator, works part-time for the sheriff’s office transporting prisoners.
Newell pressed the city to take action against Cody.
“You as his boss should at least have him on administrative leave,” Newell said. “This whole town wants that, and you know that. You’re being chicken sh*t about it.”
Herbel made a motion early in Tuesday’s meeting for a 30-minute executive session to discuss Cody’s employment.
Council member Jerry Kline supported her, but Mayfield, Zach Collett, and Kevin Burkholder voted against it.
Collett said the city’s attorney should be present for such a meeting.
“Why? He wasn’t here when we fired Mark Skiles,” Herbel said, referring to the city’s former administrator.
Council members voted 5-0 to meet in executive session at their next meeting.
The front page of council agenda packets has included a missive in red letters that the city would not entertain questions about the raids. On Aug. 21, the warning was punctuated with 47 exclamation marks. On Tuesday, there were only two punctuation marks.
Nonetheless, Bob Crawford also expressed concern about Cody.
“It is my observation that I’ve watched our new chief of police train our two new officers,” Crawford said. “I think it would be a bad choice for this man to train anybody. Second thing is, don’t we have any females who could be on this department?”
Marion resident Darvin Markley asked each council member when they learned about the raids.
“For me, I think it was a day later. I saw it on Facebook or on the news,” Jerry Kline said.
“Friday evening,” Burkholder said.
“Knowledge of what?” Mayfield asked. “The criminal investigation? I wasn’t aware of any search warrants being filed or utilized. I had no knowledge of that. The only knowledge I had was the chief informed me that he was doing a criminal investigation and it involved one of my council members.”
“I was aware of it that morning when they busted into my house,” Herbel said.