City Commission Meeting – The Video

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GeeGuy has posted a link to a video of the five minutes in question at last week’s City Commission from which Susan Overfield was removed. To be honest, I’m pretty shocked. Having watched City Commission meetings on channel 7 and knowing how Mayor Dona generally conducts herself at the meetings, here is what I assumed had happened:

1. Susan had talked for her allotted three minutes and then was alerted that her three minutes were up.
2. She then asked for an extra minute or two to finish her comments, and the Mayor granted her an extension.
3. Susan talked through her extension and asked for more time, but the Mayor declined the second request in the interest of time.
4. Susan objected and continued talking, and the the Mayor asked repeatedly for Susan to step down.
5. Susan got increasingly belligerent and loud.
6. The Mayor, as a last resort and in order to preserve order, asked that Susan be escorted from the room.

But that is not what happened, according to the video. This is what I saw on the video:

1. Susan talked for her allotted three minutes.
2. The Mayor told her to wrap it up as she approached the three-minute mark.
3. Susan continued talking.
4. The Mayor said, “Ma’am, your time is up. Please take your seat…Ma’am.”
5. Susan said that she would continue talking.
6. The Mayor turned to (presumably) the police officer and said, “Please remove her.”

Items #4-6 occurred within the span of eight seconds. There was no attempt at any resolution other than removing Susan from the room. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 – just get out of my meeting.

Now I’m not about to claim that there were any Nazis in the City Commission meeting – the moonbats are just that – moonbats – when they make such ridiculous claims. But what I saw on the tape certainly didn’t make me feel comfortable with our municipal government. I’m pretty shocked that the Mayor didn’t offer an extra minute or two to Susan, or ask to meet with Susan after the meeting or the next day, or otherwise seek some other way to handle the situation instead of immediately asking for Susan’s removal. In addition, I’m a bit surprised that no one else said anything or otherwise tried to calm things down – another City Commissioner, for example.

I think that the Mayor owes Susan an apology, and owes the rest of us an explanation. How about it, Mayor? Talk to us.

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13 Comments

  1. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers! on

    Dave, my point exactly. Look, the mayor ought to be at LEAST as good at controlling a room as any teacher. Teachers must be able to control thirty or more unruly students every day without having the police escort kids out. As you pointed out, there are many other more tactful ways this could have been handled than sicking plainclothes police officers on here. I mean, the mayor KNEW she had these guys lurking in the audience. And with a casual order, they sprang into action. So now, anyone who wants to testify KNOWS FULL WELL that if donna doesn’t like what you have to say, it’s adios. Because don’t forget, Dona is the one to determine whether or not a speaker is “on point”. Scary, scary stuff.

  2. Louis, it may prove difficult to unseat her Honor, Mayor Dona Stebbins, as so far (and, this could change by the close of business today, Thursday, June 28), Ms. Stebbins is the only one who had filed to run for the position of mayor.

  3. When I first heard about this I just dismissed it as a crackpot getting her due, but after watching the video, I am saddened by how the Mayor handled this. She didn’t like the heat from a well prepared and detailed presentation against her actions regarding the animal shelter. Her totally lame response on GeeGuys blog, side stepping any substance, just hiding behind issues of style and arbitrarily enforced rules didn’t help either. It would have been better for her not to say anything. If the specific allegations made by Susan Overfield about the cronyism involved with the award of the animal shelter turns out to be true, I’ll be, once again, amazed, but not surprised, at how quickly public “servants” can become corrupt.

  4. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers! on

    And, Dave, don’t get me wrong. I admire all the people who are willing to run for these thankless city council offices, etc. But by GOD they have to remember that they work for US! And when they take the US outta the process, that’s when the WE get mad as hell. We the people simply want to be heard, and be part of the process on these HUGE issues that have a very real effect on our lives. For the life of me I can’t understand why these elected people don’t see that! But for lawton, all I can say is good riddance. I don’t recall him being elected to ANYTHING! He’s not accountable to anyone, and he really has no vested interest in our coummunity.

  5. Larry, regardless of who was the City Manager and whether or not Great Falls adopts councilmanic districts, the City Manager should report to the Mayor and not to the Board as a whole, as currently is the case.

    As things stand now, it’s very difficult to hold the Board of Commissioners accountable for the actions of the City Manager. If the city Manager reported to the Mayor then there would be both accountability and a natural give-and-take between the Mayor and the Commissioners at City Commission meetings versus the “congeniality” and “don’t rock the boat mentality” that exists now.

  6. Walter, you say it is hard to hold the Commissioners accountable.
    Why?
    They are the elected officials that run the City. The City Manager and all City staff is supposed to do what they say. Period. The Manager cannot pass an ordinance, or approve an agenda. He can submit them to the Commission, but it is those people sitting on the other side of the table that say yea or nay.
    How can you not hold them responsible?

  7. Firefly, because the Commissioners do not run for election all at the same time, in actuality they are not held accountable for their groups actions.

    The current form of gov’t organization, with the City Manager reporting to the Board of Commissioners as a whole, is referred to as the “weak form of government”. I suggest that having the City Manager report to the Mayor, referred to as the “strong form of government” would be better because then the voters could hold one office holder, the Mayor, accountable for what the City Manager did or did not do.

  8. WhereIsYourLoyaltyNow on

    The look on the Mayor’s face (with her flipped hair) in the video disgusts me. She thinks she’s so sophisticated and worldly. She’s wretched.

    Her performance as Mayor aside, her manner of dress annoys me, as well. She needs to lose the trendy suede skirts and high-heeled boots. A woman of her age looks ridiculous in stilettos.

    My .02

  9. Looks like we have a real race folks. Three adults have stepped up to the plate to run for office of mayor. No three minute rule is going to stop these good folks from shinning the light on you now Donna. Enjoy your final weeks and reflect on your failed promises, come November the public will be heard.

  10. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers! on

    Walter, all good points. I’m getting an education in city government. It’s been one helluva long time since I’ve lived in any city. And now, I’ve just been annexed in. SO I’M A PLAYER TOO!…….at least until I can sell out and move farther out in the country. But it really is good to know this stuff. I’m really not that familiar with the extant cronyism of the city. Thanx.

  11. Walter Greenspan on

    Firefly, to add a bit of clarity (hopefully) to my earlier reply to your query about ‘accountability’, if the City Manager reported to the Mayor and not to the City Commission as a whole, then the Commissioners would act a a “legislature” to the Mayor’s “chief executive” and, in my opinion, there would be more checks and balances over the actions of the City Manager than currently exists under the governance of a “congenial” City Commission structure. I, for one, strongly prefer checks and balances to congeniality in my local, as well as state and federal, government.

  12. Walter, et. al; I submit that it is unrealistic for the people of Great Falls to expect an unpaid city commission and mayor to show the professionalism necessary to truly affect policy.

    We, the citizens, have created this bed and are now lying in it. Faced with the old alderman/ward system, we emasculated our city government and purposely created a “weak form of government.”

    Unpaid, part-time amateurs can only be rubber stamps for full time, professionals.

    The question remains, do WE want the tail to continue wagging the dog?

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