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Meeting mayhem
Jimmy Haley

A 28-cent tax increase wasn’t commanding most of the attention from commissioners in the aftermath of Monday night’s Warren County Commission meeting.

On Tuesday, the talk centered on how the three-hour meeting spiraled out of control, devolving into lengthy speeches and one personal attack.

At one point, County Executive Jimmy Haley said, “Let’s just see where this circus goes.”

Commissioner Gary Prater called Monday night’s meeting a “kangaroo court” and said Haley allowed the meeting to go barreling out of control.

“In my 21 years on the County Commission, I’ve never witnessed anything like that where a county executive let it get so out of control,” said Prater.

A speech by Commissioner Carl D. Bouldin lasted over 9 minutes.

That was followed by a speech from Commissioner Deborah Evans that lasted 13:45 and included some pointed comments at Commissioner Steven Helton.

“You want to be the bully. You want to be the show off,” said Evans. “Were you not taught any manners by your mother?”

Prater interrupted at that point and called for Haley to regain order of the meeting.

“Mr. Chairman, I think things are getting out of control and you need to stop this right now,” said Prater.

When contacted Tuesday, Evans says she does not feel she was out of line. She said she shook hands with both Bouldin and Helton after the meeting and indicated they are all interested in moving forward and putting any disagreements behind them. She said she’s also been thanked by the community and added right at 100 new friends Tuesday on Facebook.

“The feedback I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Evans. “I’ve been thanked by teachers and deputies and volunteers at Animal Control who have contacted me and said thank you so much for standing up for us.”

Commissioner Tommy Savage said he supports a time limit on speeches to prevent people from getting off topic.

“When Herschel Wells was in there, he had a two-minute time limit,” said Savage. “It didn’t matter who was speaking and you couldn’t make any personal attacks. I’d like to see that return. Make your notes, say what you have to say and be done with it.”

Haley did not return several phone calls asking for a comment about the meeting. He did send a text that said, “Respect goes a long way in making decisions.”