There was a hush over the audience at the City Council meeting in Uniontown on Monday as Councilmember Cynthia Mims stood to read an open letter she had written.
She began with “Mayor, you have been disrespecting the Council’s wishes.” From there, she proceeded to air a list of grievances towards the mayor, in which she alleged that he had been spending money and making deals on Uniontown’s behalf without the Council’s knowledge or approval.
Mims cited examples, including the city’s contracts with Gulf Coast Underground for water and sewer work, and most recently, the repair and installation of heating in the Uniontown Municipal Building.
Mims said that the Council had no idea how much the contractor, Reynolds Electric, had been paid and they had not seen the terms of the contract. She also cited issues with the police department, blaming the Mayor for dragging his feet in finding a new Chief and by extension damaging the function of the Police Department as a whole.
“You’ve been running this city like a one man show,” she said. “Fix these potholes and get more police officers.”
Mayor Christopher Jones answered Mims with a rebuttal of his own, asking “Do you guys not believe in good name and character?” Jones insisted that he had followed the council’s orders and that he had only had the heating repaired without their supervision because it was an emergency. “It was so cold we had people skipping work,” he said.
Councilman Ronald Miller took issue with the characterization of the situation as an emergency.
“You can’t come in here and say it was an emergency because it’s cold,” he said.
Miller and Mims went on to relay a message of unity, encouraging Jones to work with the council, tension was still palpable between the parties from that point forward in the meeting.
Jones and the council have disagreed on a number of decisions recently, with the remarks from Miller and Mims serving to underscore the tension in a City Hall poised to face more challenges in the coming year.