Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Georgetown Mayor Jack Scoville is accused of what one City Council member describes as verbal abuse during an executive session last week.
In a letter — written to city attorney Elise Crosby which was obtained by The Georgetown Times on Monday — council member Jeanette Ard says Scoville “once again resorted to the use of abusive language.”
The topic of the executive session was whether Cindy Kinder should continue her position as the city’s Historic Preservation Officer.
In the letter written Monday and delivered to Crosby and all other council members, Ard said Scoville “cursed me with the use of an expletive often associated with sexual deviant behavior.”
The letter does not indicate what Ard said she was called. She later confirmed the word used was “masochist.” Scoville admits he used the word, but says it was in a joking manner.
“In the past he has used more traditional profanity when expressing disagreement with concerns I expressed during discussions with council members,” Ard wrote. “By cursing me...the mayor has once again crossed the lines of civility.”
Scoville said during the meeting Ard was talking about how she attends almost every Architectural Review Board, Planning Commission and other board and commission meetings on a regular basis.
“When she said that, I said well you must be a masochist or something,” Scoville said. “I meant it as a joke.”
Webster’s Dictionary describes a masochist — in its first definition — as a person whose “sexual or other gratification depends on one’s suffering physical pain or humiliation.”
Scoville said his comment had another meaning. He cites vocabulary.com which states “these days you’re most likely to hear the word used jokingly by someone who doesn’t understand another’s motivations for doing something painful or difficult.”
Scoville also takes exception to Ard’s claims that profanity was used in the meeting.
“There was no profanity used at all,” Scoville said.
Ard also reminded Crosby in the letter “complaints about his bad behavior towards females have previously been brought to your attention.”
When contacted Monday, Crosby said she was in the executive session but would not say if she agreed with Ard’s description of the events.
“I know the rules about executive session,” Crosby said, adding what is said during the closed door meetings “is not permitted to be disclosed.”
She said she will not talk about what she may or may not have heard unless she is ordered by a court to do so.
Ard said as the city’s attorney, Crosby has “an obligation to see that the rules are followed by everyone.”
Other council members who were in the meeting have differing opinions on the matter.
“It is the truth,” councilman Rudolph Bradley said of Ard’s letter. “And if I have to, I will testify in court to that. And it has happened on more than one occasion. Jack is a bully and knows who to cross.”
Councilman Paige Sawyer said “I think Jack meant it as a funny statement and not anything she is trying to imply.”
He also agreed with Scoville that no profanity was used in the meeting.
Ard also notes Scoville, during council meetings, often calls her by the wrong name. Often he calls her Peggy and more recently he referred to her as Mrs. Sawyer.
“I sometimes call my wife by my daughter’s name and my daughter by my wife’s name,” Scoville said. “Perhaps it’s a sign of encroaching old age. I mean no disrespect to you when that happens but sometimes because of stress, nervousness, or distraction I call a person by the wrong name.”
Ard, in the letter, states if Crosby does not take action, she will take her concerns to the EEOC, the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission and “other appropriate oversight agencies.”
Ard said Monday if she does take such action, she will not do it until after the city elections in November.
By Scott Harper
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