Montville Council Fireworks Come Close to Fighting Words [Video]

A heated discussion devolves into a shouting match on a proposal for an ethics commission. Council President Buebendorf condemns personal attacks.


Town Councilor Dana McFee has been nothing if not candid, outspoken and often, vitriolic. But his statements Wednesday night at the Town Council meeting related to his proposal that the town create a Ethics Commission drew sharp condemnation from Council President Candy Buebendorf and provoked another councilor to engage in a shouting match with McFee, one that led a resident to storm from the meeting in disgust shouting “Enough, enough!”  Not to mention shaking heads and stunned and embarrassed glances from other councilors and people in the Council Chamber audience.

McFee had previously placed a proposed ethics commission discussion on a council agenda but he did not get a second for discussion. Wednesday he did; from Town Councilor Rosetta Jones who herself was the subject of an ethics complaint (which was later dropped). Jones, who remained calm throughout the incident said she herself, was “persecuted.”

“Many towns do have established commissions,” she said. “It’s really important. I do hope you’re not going to let it go.”

McFee spoke of an incident that centered on an ethics complaint brought last year that was discussed in an executive session. And to that, Buebendorf objected; “You’re out of line.”

But McFee said, "I don't care," and continued to make his point: that Councilor Gary Murphy had flip-flopped on whether or not he supported an ethics commission based, McFee challenged on politics and political allegiances. Murphy had previously said that McFee should have paid closer attention to statements Murphy made in a recent media report which indicate he did not flip-flop: “If you listened instead of shooting your big mouth off...”

“I’m not opposed to this,” he said. But McFee continued that Murphy had been “playing politics” with the issue.

Before the heated exchange, a number of residents spoke about the importance of such a commission including one who said that while “sometimes (complaints are) hogwash, sometimes they’re not” and should be independently investigated.

Ellen Hillman said a commission should be set up and be an at once autonomous and independent panel of citizens so as to avoid the council sitting as “judge and jury” when complaints about councilor conduct are made.

Buebendorf pointed out that the Town Charter addresses the matter and provides that the Council has the authority to investigate any ethics complaints but suggested an opinion from the town attorney might be in order.

Ultimately it was decided that the council would seek guidance from the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, a public agency that includes representatives from regional towns and cities on forming a commission.








shannon October 11, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Wow! This council is just ridiculous!!!! The mayor is just sitting there saying nothing, what a great leader he is.
Lynda J. Jean October 11, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Horrible, Horrible, Horrible.
Ellen Hillman October 11, 2012 at 03:19 PM
I agree Lynda It would be nice if everyone did not interupt. Councilor McFee had the floor according to Roberts Rules of Order everyone else should of been quiet and listened until he was done and then rebutted his comments. He would of then had his say and the "show" would of never happened
John Turello October 11, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Well it's nice to. See that this council and mayor gave destroyed the town but opened up comedy hour. Sell tickets may help to lower out taxes
Meghan Buttler October 11, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I find it funny that candy, bill and Gary criticized Donna for allowing heated debates and said she had no control over the meetings. Well if that is not the pit calling the kettle black. It sounds like the current chair has no control
Kelly P. October 11, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Why is the mayor just sitting there doing nothing?
JIMMIE October 11, 2012 at 07:34 PM
wow. that is ridiculous.. mcfee had the floor and no one should overspeak him until hes done. Chair OBVIOUSLY has no control over her council. She could have ended it instead of fueling gary murphys fire...
JIMMIE October 11, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Hopefully the new 41 can take care of that...but not soon enough
Jerry October 11, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Shannon and Kelly P obviously enjoy being able to criticize the mayor whenever possible. As intelligent as they are, they should realize that he does not chair the meetings.
Sarah Mae Wegins October 11, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Skannon & Kelly the Mayor in not a member of the council and is just there to answer questions the councilors may have and give his monthly report. It's Candy who can not control her council.
Sarah Mae Wegins October 11, 2012 at 08:55 PM
For those of us that have been around and followed town affairs know that Gary Murphy is capable of loosing his temper at any time. I remember when he verbally attacked Russ Betham at a town council meeting, stormed out of the room and the following day resigned from the Democratic Party. This happened about 15-20 years ago. He has since then been Unaffiliated, Republican for political reasons and then back again with the Democrats because he didn't want to be affiliated with Mr. Beetham when he was indorsed by the Republican Party. Don't be surprised at anything he does. Who knows maybe a Libertarian next? Mr. Murphy, what you need is some anger management treatment.
shannon October 11, 2012 at 09:59 PM
The mayor is their boss and he should have stepped in and got everyone in order, and he didn't.... what kind of leader is that?
Jerry October 11, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Shannon, please review Roberts Rules of Order. The mayor is not the leader of the council and it would be improper to interfere with the running of the meeting.
shannon October 11, 2012 at 10:53 PM
So jerry your telling me they can yell and swear at each other and the mayor can't do anything about it. That's just crazy. He still looks like he wont have a back bone.
Johnathan Gressley October 12, 2012 at 12:23 AM
I am so embarrassed to live in montville. The mayor, the Council Chairwomen and all the councilors just sat there and allowed this to go on. Why in the world did we elect them? The democrats have just about ruined Montville. Now I see they passed an ordnance that will result in more lawsuits. Great for the Town attorney.
Ellen Hillman October 12, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Shannon yes the Mayor is not the boss according the the Town Charter the Mayor is the boss over the Employees only everything else he does is at the discression or request of the Council only.
shannon October 12, 2012 at 01:21 AM
That is just pathetic!!!! Im so happy I am moving out of montville. The mayor and council is just embarrassing!!!!
jane October 15, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Geez, Shannon, hate the mayor much? Much to your displeasure I'm sure, he in not in charge of the counsel meeting. Candy, or at least Billy, should have kept things in order.


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