In an unusually heated moment, Councilman Ken Jones of the Second Ward lashed out at Mayor Aaron Montz and his fellow council members during Monday evening’s Tiffin City Council committee of the whole meeting.
Jones accused the mayor and council of keeping him in the dark about things going on in his ward, particularly street pavings and other infrastructure projects.
“Resolution 20-30, authorizing the mayor to do this, and the mayor to do that, and the mayor to do this. And I keep seeing the mayor, mayor, mayor. I got tired of seeing the mayor there,” Jones said. “We’re talking about something on Hudson Street, Oak Street. I mean, hell, I can throw a baseball from Hudson to Oak Street. North Monroe Street, Franklin Street, Clyde Street, Ash Street… 375 thousand dollars… This is my Second Ward, shouldn’t I have some advance notice of repaving, curbing, asphalt, whatever the heck it is. Wouldn’t I have an insight to this before it gets thrown in my face, for lack of better terms?”
Jones claimed he should be a “little more in the Second Ward” instead of the “mayor doing this, and the mayor doing that.”
Council President Rich Focht said all of the things Jones mentioned are improvements for areas within his ward, and asked Jones if he would be opposed to any of those.
“I want to be involved. They’re all I want to be involved with. But I’m not involved. Bring it up tonight, let’s vote on it, let’s pass the three reading rule. I said, North Monroe? Clyde Street? Franklin Street? Am I all wet here? The other six city council people sit back there, don’t say a darn word, and I’m trying to make a change here. And you all sit there like bobble head dolls. So I’ll mute myself,” Jones said during the virtual Zoom meeting.
“Good idea,” Focht replied.
After a brief moment of silence, Jones raised his hand to make another comment.
“I would appreciate a little more comment from yourself or the other six city council persons, instead of saying ‘thank you and shut up.’ That was not my intention to sit here idle and have this stuff thrown in my face,” Jones said.
Focht said nobody was throwing anything in Jones’ face, and at-large Councilman Ben Gillig expressed confusion over what was causing Jones’ anger.
“Councilman Jones, I’m still kind of puzzled as to what you’re upset about, to be honest,” Gillig said.
“I’m upset that this Resolution 20-30 is being presented tonight. I know nothing about it, and it involves six or seven streets in my neighborhood. What I’m upset about, is I’m thinking one of these people are going to call me, and say ‘Councilman Jones, what is this on North Monroe Street? What is this on Franklin Street?’ And I say, ‘call the mayor, he knows all about it.’ It just doesn’t sit well with me. That’s what I’m upset about,” Jones said.
Mayor Aaron Montz informed Jones that the street paving plans were discussed at last week’s law and community planning committee meeting.
“These are hundreds of thousands of dollars of street paving monies that will be spent in your ward to improve streets. I can’t imagine why anyone would be upset that their street was getting paved next year by a grant that’s covering the vast majority of the paving costs. I guess I’m kind of confused here, we’re not asking for suspension of it this evening, so I’m really confused where the anger comes from,” Montz said. “It sounds to me almost like you’re just upset that you didn’t know so you could have your name on the legislation, to take credit for that in your ward. Versus the fact that you sound a little upset that the mayor’s name is on there, when indeed I am the one that has to sign the paperwork.”
Jones again raised his hand to yield his remarks and thanked Montz and Focht for their explanations.