At the end of an already-eventful Town Meeting on Tuesday evening, Attorney Clay Fees handed out a copy of Oklahoma state statute §11-12-106 to talk about what the responsibilities of town trustees are. Or, to be precise, what they are not. Directing his attention specifically to town trustee Bobby McGarrah, Fees said “that statute lays out the limits of your authority. Ordering the city employees around is not a part of it. That’s an administrative function, by the city manager, and that’s it. Not the Mayor, not the Vice Mayor, nobody.”
Fees said that there’s “not a month that goes by” that someone hasn’t complained to him about McGarrah exceeding his authority. He said that he had tried in-person meetings and more public measures to try to curb the alleged behavior.
“I tried to eradicate this with meetings…that didn’t work. Ed [Pruitt] proposed a censure motion, which you guys declined to move on—which is fine—that was another effort to curb that,” Fees said.
In March, former trustee Ed Pruitt submitted a recommendation to censure McGarrah based on allegations that he was making overly-demanding requests of town employees outside of formal sessions at the Town Hall. After much discussion, the recommendation was withdrawn and no action was taken. According to Fees, the behavior has continued, despite the steps that have been taken. “I’m not sure what the nature of your obtuseness is, but it’s there.”
Fees paused, then said flatly, “that kind of behavior is in violation of the law.”
Fees said it all came to a head on August 17th, when McGarrah called he and Kellyville Police Chief Shelly Garrett, to a meeting during the day, and began to accuse Fees of misinterpreting the statute defining what a resident is. “He tells me that he had called all kinds of lawyers in surrounding towns, which was a lie, because I called them.”
McGarrah interjected at this point. “It wasn’t a lie,” he said. Fees said it was, and when McGarrah tried to explain, Fees said flatly, “you’re a liar.” McGarrah responded in kind. “You’re a liar,” he said.
An argument ensued about the incident on August 17th. Bobby insisted that he asked Clay to put his opinions in writing, and Fees corrected Bobby, saying that Bobby originally ordered him to do so, and only reverted to asking when Fees “told him to pound sand.”
“This is not a horse I’m going to stop beating,” Fees said. “If you want to be clear of it, you need to convince somebody up here—two more—to get rid of me. That’s the way it’s gonna be, I’m not letting go of it. You are violating the law, Bobby.”
Fees closed the discussion with his disappointment that McGarrah’s meeting wasted the taxpayer’s money. “That meeting you called me to didn’t benefit this town one iota. It was entirely the latest effort in your war against Ed. You cost this town about ninety bucks in my time, solely for your benefit.”
Bobby McGarrah insists that Fees is misinterpreting a state statute that dictates a town trustee has be a resident of the city. McGarrah’s complaint was brought up in August’s Town Meeting and McGarrah relented, saying “if he can live with himself, I can.”
Another item on the agenda for tonight’s meeting was to accept the resignation of Ed Pruitt. According to Kellyville Police Chief Shelly Garrett, at the time of last month’s meeting, Pruitt and his wife were trying to decide whether to live in a new house they acquired from Pruitt’s mother-in-law in Sapulpa, or stay in Kellyville and give that house to their kids. Ultimately they decided to move to Sapulpa, and Pruitt resigned his post as Town Trustee. It was unanimously accepted.
Though Ed insisted last month that he was still living in Kellyville at the time, McGarrah and his wife say that his resignation proves their original point. “Why would he resign, unless it was true?”
The Kellyville Town Trustee meeting happens on the second Tuesday of every month, at 7:00 PM in Kellyville Town Hall.