Dear editor,

In February this year at the Milton City Council Meeting, an attempt to fire City Manager, Brain Watkins occurred. 

The City Council purposely arranges its meeting agenda to address easy and ordinary issues at the beginning of council meetings and then address controversial issues towards the end of the board meeting.

As the meeting progresses, the public who are attending to express their opinion, want to be heard, settle their issues and leave. As the night progresses, it leaves few audience members present at the closing of the council meeting.

As the hour becomes late and the scheduled agenda items are settled, the counsel can go rouge. Council members can better control issues and make decisions with little objection from the public who sadly have left the meeting assuming nothing of importance will happen after they leave.

In the February meeting this year, at the end of the council meeting, the agenda items were completed but as the mayor moved to close the meeting, out of thin air, with no discussion, Councilwoman Peggy Smith made a motion to fire City Manager Brian Watkins and immediately Councilman Jeff Snow said, "I second it".

An honorable Naval Officer and competent city manager, Brian Watkins, was blindsided by a councilwoman and a first term councilman. The mayor remained silent.  

This was a bomb shell. I immediately moved to the podium and addressed the board and Mr. Snow directly, "I am hurt. This saddens me. Is this for real? Brian Watkins is a good upright military officer and you are treating him this way?" Other people followed, and the board was taken back by the response of the remaining attendees in defense of Mr. Watkins. As the awkwardness of the moment sunk in, the issue was dropped and withdrawn by the board and no vote was taken.

There is little doubt this was not orchestrated. City Council Late Show antics have become common operating procedure for this relatively new Milton City Council. Aggressive, important decisions are purposely arranged at the end of meetings after most public attendees have left.

After adversity to the firing became apparent and objections voiced by the remaining audience, Ms. Smith withdrew her motion. The Late-Night Show ploy failed for now.

This attempt to remove City Manager Brian Watkins was unbelievably staged but the character of Brian Watkins shined through the encounter with distinction. 

The most recent example of Late Night Show voting occurred last week at the City Council meeting pertaining to open alcohol bars in downtown Milton. The room was packed with standing room only with many chairs brought in from other rooms to accommodate the crowd and many still had to stand.

The overwhelming majority of those attending were against open bar alcohol sales in the City of Milton. After much discussion the alcohol sale issue was approved by the board but it had to be re-addressed and voted on again before it could become law. So, in some aspect, those opposing bars in Milton still had hope. The issue would have to be readdressed another day.

Then the Mayor called a break in the meeting. The overwhelming crowd attending to defeat the alcohol/bar issue felt their task was finished and most left. So, guess what happened when the board reconvened a brief time later. 

The ‘Late Night Show Ploy’ was instituted and there were few people there to defend the issue. The board fired city manager Brian Watkins. And that my friends is how the Late-Night Show is used to get its way. 

There are people on the City Council who demand their way and they will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing.

MICHAEL JOHNSON

Bagdad

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