‘Enough is enough,’ councilman says
You could see and sense his angst in the moments before Shakeyla Ingram would be censured by her fellow members of the Fayetteville City Council. Plainly, you could see how uncomfortable Councilman D. J. Haire was with the process and his apparent frustration.
“It’s my hope and prayer we can get to the point we don’t continue to do this,” Haire told his fellow council members on Dec. 14 in this City Council special meeting at the FAST Transit Center. “We are the ones who control ourselves. It is my hope this is the last time we’re going down this path. Enough is enough. Let’s be civil and respectful to one another.”
The District 4 councilman was not alone in his plea.
“We have to hold each other with respect,” Mayor Mitch Colvin said. “Like Mr. Haire said, this is nothing we need to visit again.”
Nonetheless, Colvin and Haire voted for a resolution to censure Ingram in a unanimous vote along with Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Keefe Jensen and council members Johnny Dawkins, Larry Wright, Yvonne Kinston, Courtney Banks-McLaughlin and Chris Davis, all citing Ingram’s “unprofessional and impermissible” comments at a Dec. 6 work session.
“This is the most corrupt (expletive) board I’ve ever served on,” Ingram said at the close of the work session, after complaining that the council failed to act on her presentation of a crime prevention issue.
You could sense her frustration, too.
Just as you could sense Dawkins’ exasperation weeks earlier when he angrily sounded off at Councilwoman Kinston and later was censured by fellow council members, including Kinston who made the motion to censure that was seconded by Ingram.
Truth is, these censures don’t amount to much. There are no penalties, per se. No suspensions. Just a way for the council to say, “We are disappointed in how you behaved.”
Dawkins apologized to Kinston for his behavior, which wasn’t surprising because even his late father, J.L. Dawkins, who was the longest-serving mayor in Fayetteville history, would have expected nothing less.
No apology, however, from Ingram.
Perhaps, there should have been.
Ingram defends herself, saying her comments came after the council work session adjourned. That’s up for debate. Ingram, you see, interrupted Wright’s motion to adjourn, and talked over him and the mayor.
Perhaps Ingram’s passion for a crime prevention plan with community watch groups could have been tabled for another day. But Ingram is like that. She can go on and on at council meetings. No doubt, tensions have been fostered. Ingram said as much on a recent podcast hosted by former District 3 Councilwoman Tisha Waddell about run-ins with council members Davis and Wright and a shouting match at City Hall with the mayor.
Every City Council has its cast of characters, but you never saw council members of the past such as Harry Shaw, Bill Hurley, Beth Finch, Wilbur Clark, Milo McBryde, Jack Lee, Charlie Holt, Monroe Evans, Marion George, Robert Massey Jr., Aaron Johnson and J.L. Dawkins behaving as such and calling for censures of fellow council members.
They conducted the business of this city with dignity and decorum, and they earned the confidence, trust and respect of city residents. If they had issues with one another, they likely hashed them out over morning coffee.
And that brings us back to the prudent words of D.J. Haire.
“Enough,” the 10-term councilman says, “is enough.”
Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-624-1961.