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Copeland’s comments prompt mayor, Buckman to walk out of meeting

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Mayor John Royalty, right, and Councilman Bill Buckman walk out of Tuesday’s city council working session after Councilwoman Kecia Copeland voiced comments critical of the mayor’s recent emails questioning a note County Attorney Matthew Hite passed to Copeland ast last Thursday’s special council meeting, and the mayor’s email to magistrates asking them to turn away the council’s 911 proposal. Click to enlarge.

 

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, 11:55 p.m. (Video added Sept. 7, 2016, 10 a.m.) — Mayor John Royalty and Councilman Bill Buckman left Tuesday’s working session of the Bardstown City Council before it ended and while Councilwoman Kecia Copeland was offering an apology to county officials regarding Royalty’s recent actions.

Copeland began with an apology to County Attorney Matthew Hite over an email Royalty sent out last Thursday that questioned the appropriateness of a note Hite gave to Copeland at Thursday’s special council meeting. The mayor also questioned if the note was an attempt to influence the council’s discussion of the city’s proposed 911 financial commitment.

The note had nothing to do with the city’s share of 911 expenses, Copeland said. She said she was “dismayed” by Royalty’s email questioning the note, which Hite explained last Thursday was a request to have the council suspend the meeting’s rules in order to allow Hite and Judge Executive Dean Watts to answer the council’s questions.

Copeland said Royalty’s suggestion of impropriety was “unethical and unprofessional.”

She also apologized to the magistrates for the email they received from Royalty Friday asking them to turn away the city’s 911 proposal the council approved in a 4-2 vote last Thursday.

“I don’t understand why someone would go around the council and send you a letter like that,” she said.

She acknowledged that Watts had sent emails to the members of the council — as Royalty had mentioned while defending his email — but she pointed out an important difference.

The judge’s emails have always been in support of the magistrates and not against them.

With that Royalty and Buckman stood up and walked out of the council chambers.

As the door behind the two men closed, Copeland noted that “Sometimes you speak the truth, it hurts. And when I say ‘lack of professionalism,’ its displayed at every meeting that we have.”

Copeland told Magistrate Keith Metcalfe that she looked forward to making the city-county relationship work in regard to 911 dispatch.

Hite offered an apology to the council regarding their last meeting, adding that he did not intend any disrespect.

City Clerk Barbie Bryant noted that since the meeting was a working session it did not require the participation of the mayor to adjourn the meeting.

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