A verbal joust with one of his fellow alderman prompted Rick Barnes to storm out of City Hall and be absent on a vote on the contentious Smokin’ in McMinnville beer permit that still hangs in limbo.
His hasty departure from City Hall came after an exchange between him and fellow Alderman Ben Newman over Barnes not attending a past meeting concerning the selection of a new city administrator. The exchange happened during a committee meeting prior to the scheduled meeting of the full board of mayor and aldermen.
It was during the full meeting that the vote on the beer permit, requested by Junior Auxiliary, was to be held. And, it was Barnes who held the swing vote since the first vote ended in the tie when Billy Wood was not present on June 24.
Wood has publically said he will vote for issuing the permit. With his vote, along with those of Ben Newman, Jimmy Haley and Barnes, all of whom voted for issuing the permit during the first vote on June 24, the measure would have passed. However, the assumed 4-3 majority passage of the issue was nixed by Barnes’ departure. Newman, whose comment had led to Barnes leaving in the first place, suggested putting off the vote since Barnes had left.
“Rick Barnes isn’t here and I want to wait for the full board to be here,” said Newman.
Wood, whose absence in the first meeting caused the need for the second vote, did a quick search for Barnes before a vote was taken either way.
“I don’t know where he went,” said Wood. “He was here.”
When Barnes couldn’t be located, it was decided to schedule the vote for July 22. The board all voted in favor of moving the vote with the exception of Jimmy Bonner. He voted against giving Junior Auxiliary the permit during the first vote last month.
It was after the board meeting that it was learned what had transpired between Barnes and Newman had prompted his departure. During and immediately following the committee meeting, Barnes expressed irritation at a statement made by Newman in regard to aldermen missing the interview process during the city’s failed attempt to hire a new city administrator.
“I also see that as a board it’s hard to come to a consensus on a city administrator,” said Newman during the committee meeting that brought Barnes’ ire. “Some folks don’t wish to show up for any of the interviews, phone interviews and personal interviews. It’s hard to come to a consensus when that happens.”
Barnes was absent for those interviews and took exception to his colleague’s finger pointing.
“Some of us have set hours in our jobs,” said Barnes. “We have to be there and we really don’t have a lot of choice in that. That could be the reason that some people don’t come to these odd meetings. I think everyone knows I work five days a week, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., so I get sick of hearing it thrown up that I didn’t come to the meeting.”
Barnes left City Hall immediately following the exchange.