TRANSCRIPT OF THE DISPUTE ON CITY COUNCIL
The following is excerpted from Monday night's Cape Girardeau city council meeting.
It is the discussion that ensued after Calvin Chapman, chairman of the Cape Girardeau Solid Waste Task Force, revealed that he had been contacted by Mayor Gene Rhodes and a representative of a private trash collection company regarding the task force's study.
Chapman explained that he interpreted the request for a meeting with the private contractor as premature and outside the scope of the task force. The transcript begins at the end of Chapman's responses to questions from council member Mary Wulfers. Also speaking on this transcript is Councilman David Limbaugh.
Chapman: Gene gave me some information about if we might be interested, here are some private folks or some names of people who are in solid waste disposal.
Wulfers: Gene, why did you do that?
Rhodes: Mrs. Wulfers, that's my prerogative to make a, to do, but I never tried to influence Mr. Chapman in any way, shape, form or fashion.
Wulfers: Were you unaware or did you forget what the charge was that we had given to the committee when you contacted Mr. Chapman?
Rhodes: Well, is this a court of law, Mrs. Wulfers?
Councilman Limbaugh: No, it's a disgusting mess is what it is.
Wulfers: In my opinion, we debated very specifically, this council did, as to what the charge was going to be for this committee and it appears as though you went out of your way to, to act completely contrary to that. I'd like to know why.
Rhodes: No, no, I did not. And I might add that Mr. Chapman and I grew up together and I...
Wulfers: That has no relevance here.
Rhodes: We grew up together and I called him...
Wulfers: That has no relevance here.
Rhodes: It does have some relevance.
Wulfers: I would like to know why you contacted Mr. Chapman on the premise that you contacted him. Why did you contact him?
Rhodes: Why did you write a letter to him?
Wulfers: I gave him information which was directly in line with the charge that the committee had been issued.
Rhodes: Okay, I had no, I did not make any recommendations to him other than I said, here, if they, uh, if they, here's a, you might.
Wulfers: That was not their charge to look at other companies.
Rhodes: I know. It wasn't the charge.
Wulfers: Then why did you do that?
Rhodes: That's my, uh, if I want to do it as an individual I can.
Wulfers: Well, you're not just an individual. You're the mayor of the city.
Rhodes: Well, you're not...
Limbaugh: And then, Gene, you sat silently as the four of us were accused of tainting the committee...
Rhodes: I didn't taint the committee.
Limbaugh: And you were the one who tried to assert the influence. Pretty outrageous, in my opinion.
Rhodes: No, I did not try to taint the committee.
Wulfers: They were given a specific charge.
Rhodes: That's right.
Wulfers: And you tried to convince them to go outside of their charge and to do exactly what you were voted out on...
Rhodes: I can tell you I had no ulterior motive at all when I talked to Mr. Chapman.
Wulfers: But let's set the record straight.
Limbaugh: Gene, we're being accused of impropriety here.
Rhodes: Did I try to convince him to do something?
Wulfers: This council voted unanimously that this committee would discuss a certain topic, and it (the specific charge) was a controversial vote. It was a 4-3 vote. You happened to be on the losing side. So you turn around and talk to the members of the committee to do what you failed to do during a council session. That's the bottom line.
Rhodes: Mrs. Wulfers, I did not try to get them to do anything.
Wulfers: And when the committee is finished with their research and they come back with a proposal, you have your people in the audience sitting and humiliating us and implying that we're getting some kind of kick back from the services....Yet you're the only one who had any type of an involvement as far as contact with those people.
(At this point, some discussion with the audience took place, including a statement by Lynnette Berry, who repeated her pledge to begin a recall vote on four of the council members, that she had not spoken directly with the mayor about her petition.)
Limbaugh: I'm going to ask you; Do you think we did anything wrong, Gene, the four of us that they've asked to recall, do you think we've done anything wrong?
Rhodes: I don't know what you did.
Limbaugh: No, no, do you think we did?
Rhodes: On this last one?
Limbaugh: On anything?
Rhodes: I have nothing to do with it.
Limbaugh: That is not what I asked, do you think we did anything wrong? Let's just draw the battle lines here, because if you don't, then you ought to say something.
Rhodes: I don't have a problem with the council.
Limbaugh: So you're against a recall? Is that right?
Limbaugh: Are you against a recall? I'm not for recalling anybody here. Are you?
Rhodes: I didn't sign any petitions for a recall.
Limbaugh: That's certainly a direct answer.
Rhodes: Okay...I'm not going to encourage the public either direction.
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