The Town Trustees of Kellyville met in regular session on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall. In attendance were Town Attorney Clay Fees, Trustees Ed Pruitt, Cliff Barnes, Bobby McGarrah, and Russ Howard, Mayor Terry Voss, Town Administrator Beverly Lucas, and Town Clerk Michele Covington.
The highlight of the evening came when Willie McGarrah (Trustee Bobby McGarrah’s wife) rose to speak during the time for public comments to make an impassioned allegation against Mayor Terry Voss over an incident that occurred on Monday, March 2 at the Town Hall.
Ms. McGarrah said that on that day she went to the Town Hall to speak to Voss and that she wanted to talk to him about two issues. She said the first issue was discussed professionally, but that when she mentioned the second matter, which involved comments her son told her that Voss made to him at a local store about her husband, Trustee Bobby McGarrah, Voss “went berserk.”
She said he got right into her face screaming and yelling at her and accusing her of things she didn’t do. She said she has “never disrespected anyone” and that she feels like she has “a right to be here. You shouldn’t have to feel like your life is in danger and like you are going to be hit. No one deserves to be treated this way. This is our city.” She says she only felt safe when Town Administrator Beverly Lucas and Police Chief Shelly Garrett came out of their offices and broke up the altercation. She also mentioned that Voss accused her of calling him a “sexual predator” on a local Facebook page and she hotly denied doing so.
Sapulpa Times was unable to locate the alleged accusations on Facebook.
Witnesses of the incident (“people present on the scene after the altercation”) who did not want to be identified on the record said they were only able to hear the disagreement (and not see it) and that both parties (Voss and McGarrah) had raised their voices. Witnesses were not able to discern how the fracas began.
During Ms. McGarrah’s speech, the Trustees were silent and Mayor Voss remained stoic and calm. Attorney Clay Fees thanked her, saying, “Local governments work when people come up and take action.”
The trustees then moved on to the next agenda item and took care of its usual business of taking reports of last month from department heads, including the fire chief, police chief, and head of public works.
Censuring of McGarrah withdrawn
Later, Trustee Ed Pruitt’s recommendation to censure Trustee Bobby McGarrah, Ms. McGarrah’s husband, was discussed. First City Attorney Clay Fees explained both state and local statutes about formal censuring. Essentially it is a formal, public reprimand of a government official, condemning behavior considered unacceptable by that particular government body.
The recommendation was brought because there has been general “talk” that Mr. McGarrah makes unreasonable, unprofessional, and overly-demanding requests of town employees outside of formal sessions at the Town Hall. There have been several witnesses to his berating or making demands of people as if he were their boss and several people have come forward to complain about his behavior.
It was noted during session, when discussing Agenda Item I, on whether or not to censure Bobby McGarrah for unprofessional conduct towards town employees, that the proper way to complain against a member of the board, including the mayor, is to formally take the complaint to the Town Administrator Beverly Lucas.
Fees remained a valuable resource and mediator and was able to prevent Bobby McGarrah from arguing with Pruitt and others, and from putting Public Works head Pete Little on the spot about whether or not he has been made uncomfortable by McGarrah’s behavior in the past.
In the end, no action was taken on the censure recommendation against Bobby McGarrah and the meeting was adjourned.
(No censure recommendation or other action was suggested to the Town Administrator, Beverly Lucas, against Mayor Voss for his March 2 interaction with Ms. McGarrah.)
If one wishes to speak publicly during a town meeting, they are required to sign in and to state his or her full name for the minutes. Speakers have a three-minute time limit. Town trustees are not able to make a decision or take any action over the content of the presentation. They can, however, direct the Town Administrator to take action or to schedule the matter for their attention at a later date.
Kellyville’s Board of Trustees meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Town Hall at 410 East Buffalo.
Next month, the meeting will be on April 14th. Members of the public are encouraged to attend.