Huber Heights Mayor Tom McMasters will not be penalized for his behavior after 10 city staff members filed a complaint last week with Vice Mayor Tracy Dudley alleging McMasters’ conduct was “offensive and unprofessional” during a public meeting.
The findings of the investigation were revealed Monday night at an administration committee session prior to the regularly-scheduled City Council meeting.
The incident took place at a town hall meeting Oct. 2 at the Huber Heights Senior Center, which “created alarm and concern of attendees,” according to the complaint.
“We took it through the process, and the report was conclusive,” Dudley said. “We did our job as instructed, and we want to move forward in a positive fashion.”
According to Dudley’s report — which was read by city attorney Alan Schaeffer — what people heard and witnessed varied slightly, but there was agreement on a number of details, including:
- An individual from the public was composing a question as McMasters was standing in the back of the room.
- McMasters began moving to the front of the room, where he was met by Earl Simone, the head priest at Saint Peter Catholic Church.
- Simone, who uses a wheelchair, raised his arm as if to stop McMasters. A short conversation between the two ensued.
- During the conversation, McMasters made a statement loud enough to be heard by some people in attendance.
- That statement included an obscenity.
- McMasters immediately left the building with his daughter.
“The manner in which the mayor caused the interruption by his words and actions, by anybody’s standards, was unacceptable, certainly unbecoming of any public official let alone the mayor of our great city,” the report said. “I would note that the mayor himself admits to the incident.”
The city charter does not include a penalty for inappropriate behavior by a council member or the mayor.
“The only person who is capable of attempting to rectify this unfortunate event is the Mayor, himself,” the report said. “He needs to take whatever action he deems necessary to make amends to his office and to his constituency. He will be judged accordingly by his actions or inactions.”
After Monday night’s council meeting, McMasters said he wished he handled the situation better.
“I wish I was calmer when I left,” he said. “I wish I hadn’t cursed when I was talking to (Simone).”
Several Huber Heights residents spoke during citizens comment in support of McMasters.
Matthew Truman said there is a “witch hunt of the mayor” and criticized council for a lack of transparency.
“We want to see our council work together with our newly-elected mayor to address issues, rather than catapult him out of office,” resident Janell Smith said. “Put personal opinions aside and work as a team.”
McMasters was elected mayor last November, defeating incumbent Ron Fisher 52 percent to 48 percent. The Huber Heights mayor does not vote on legislation.
Also last week, two Huber Heights residents filed a complaint against Dudley, alleging Dudley violated the rules of council based on comments she made to a local newspaper about the McMasters investigation.
In an article posted Oct. 9 by the Huber Heights Courier, it says, “(Dudley) said about 15 people gave comments, including people that signed the complaint,” referring to an executive session held Oct. 7.
Residents Glenn Otto and Emery Phipps Jr. believe Dudley violated the rules of council, which states “discussion in executive session is confidential. No participant shall compromise the confidentiality of an executive session.”