Cleveland City Council In 3-3 Vote On Whether McKenzie Should Resign For Alleged Racist Remarks

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - by Tonya Brantley

Regarding racial slurs Cleveland City Councilman Charlie McKenzie allegedly made while working as a sheriff’s deputy, Councilman Bill Estes made a motion to censure Councilman Charlie McKenzie during the voting session Monday afternoon. The motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Avery Johnson. Quoting Roberts Rules of Order, Councilman Estes said, “Members can be censured for misconduct at meetings, violating confidentiality, moral misconduct outside the meeting, absenteeism, bribery, fraud, lying, disloyalty, working against the organization, conspiracy and violating other values that the organization holds dear.
It’s the last clause on which I am bringing this.”
 
According to Robert’s Rules of Order, to censure a member or an officer is to warn him or her that if certain behavior continues, the next step is suspension or expulsion. The purpose is to reprimand the member with the hopes of reforming him or her so that he or she won’t behave in the same way again. The member is put on notice that if he or she repeats the offense, he or she can be suspended or removed from membership or office.
 
A motion to censure a member can occur in two circumstances. First, the chair has named the person (as a result of that person’s poor behavior), a member can make the motion to censure when the chair asks for a penalty. Second, if members know of another member’s bad behavior and want to bring it to the attention of the assembly in the form of a motion to censure.
 
Councilman David May said, “I should not judge a member or members of this council. They were elected by voters. It is up to the voters to judge each and every one of us. I vote no.”
 
Councilman Hughes said, “I deplore any racial slurs. For me to say to a fellow council member I wish to censure you or ask you to resign, that’s not my position. Therefore, I vote no.”
 
Councilman Richard Banks said,” I’m going to vote aye. I just wish there had been more discussion. I agree with Avery when he reached out the olive branch and said to Charlie we need to discuss this. We all make mistakes. We don’t as a city need to be involved in this discussion. This is a personal individual act on Charlie’s part. He needs to be admitting his mistake and rectifying the wrong.”
 
Councilman George Poe said, “I cannot feel right telling someone else to be quiet or how to conduct themselves. I feel the people of Charlie’s district should be the ones to do so. I vote no.”
 
Because the motion pertained to him, Councilman McKenzie was not allowed to vote. The final vote was a stalemate 3 to 3.
 
Vice Chairman Johnson then made a motion asking for the resignation of Councilman McKenzie. The motion was seconded by Councilman Estes.
 

Councilman McKenzie said, “Two weeks ago when Johnson asked the question, I said I don’t remember saying that. If I said that, I apologize.”

Councilman Johnson responded, “Here’s my problem with that statement. If we want to check into something pertaining to the history of this county from 20 years ago or 30 years ago, we always go to Councilman McKenzie. He remembers more than anybody on this council. He knows more people. He knows more about the history of this community. I asked a simple question, did you say it or did you not say it, and he said I don’t remember. I have a problem with that because you are our authority in the history of Bradley County. All I simply asked was for you to tell me the truth. I cannot believe that you do not remember what you said when you know everything else about this community. What you have done, you have 633 African American citizens and voters in your district that you have totally wiped out because of what you said. Everybody makes mistakes. We all make mistakes. All I’m asking you to do is tell the truth.” 

Councilman McKenzie replied, “I told the truth.” Johnson said, “I think there has been so much damage done to those 633 voters. Charlie McKenzie is my friend and I dearly love his family and his wife is just exceptional. I still have a lot of respect for Charlie. But you just need to realize we all make mistakes. There are people here asking you to resign that would back you and support you if you would just tell the truth.”
 
Councilman Estes said, “It’s not about Charlie, it’s about us. We need to disassociate ourselves from this. This is about Cleveland. I don’t want people to look back at this one day and ask, is that what you did? You did nothing?” 
 
Because the motion pertained to him, Councilman McKenzie was once again not allowed to vote. The vote was a stalemate 3 to 3 with Councilmen May, Hughes and Poe voting no and Councilman Banks voting for the resignation.
 
In other business, Meeri Shin was honored as 2013 Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club. In new business and ordinances, a resolution honoring the Cleveland High School Wrestling Team for outstanding achievement proclaiming February 25, 2013 Blue Raider Wrestling Day also passed unanimously.
 
The Cleveland City Council will hold its next voting session on Monday, March 12, at 3 p.m.


Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For Aug. 19-25

Here is the Fort Oglethorpe arrest report for Aug. 19-25: Regina Lorene Brewster, 50, of 528 Red Bud Avenue, Rossville was arrested August 19 on charges of driving while license revoked and no seatbelt. Amber Nicole Howell, 28, of 601 James Street, Rossville was arrested August 19 on charges of driving while license suspended and failure to obey traffic control device. ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ARMSTRONG, JAMES ANTHONY  2701 TYNER RD CHATTANOOGA, 37363  Age at Arrest: 43 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga VIOLATION OF PROBATION(DRIVING ON REVOKED) VIOLATION OF PROBATION(DUI) --- AUSTIN, ASHLEY MESHELLE  2301 EAST 18TH STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 24 years ... (click for more)

Proud To Be A Conservative Conservationist

I was born and raised in Chattanooga and was brought up to be a Tennessee conservative. That means that my family conserved our spending, our resources, and yes, even our environment.  I think we were inspired to do so because Tennessee is one of the most beautiful places in the entire United States. We have stunning mountains, wild rivers and quiet backcountry. And many of ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Adore America

If Heather Cross weren’t married and didn’t have such a fine-looking family I’d swear I might propose. The dazzling lady just wrote a “By Gumbo! letter” to all the major news outlets in the world to inform them that half of the Pelican State is still submerged by “a 1,000-year flood” and where the heck are they with their cameras? She knows it is vital for the rest of America to ... (click for more)

Potent Baylor Continues Unbeaten Volleyball Onslaught

Another one bites the dust. Baylor’s Lady Red Raiders knocked off visiting East Hamilton, 3-0, on Monday and extended their season-opening winning streak to 15 consecutive matches. Coach Sarah Lail’s squad blistered the Lady Hurricanes by set scores of 25-10, 25-8, 25-14. “It’s definitely a great feeling,” Lail said of the impressive winning streak. “The girls have ... (click for more)

Vols' Jones: Good Game Habits Start In Practice

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –  Ninth-ranked Tennessee's season opener against Appalachian State is just three days away. Coach and assistant coaches Mike DeBord, Bob Shoop, Larry Scott and Steve Stripling provided a Mon day   update. The coaches shared how the team has prepared this week for its first true game action since the Outback Bowl in January. Butch ... (click for more)