Bossier city attorney admits to making comment at council meeting threatening to ‘... run that son of a [expletive] over with a Zamboni’
Inquisitor publisher tells KSLA News 12 he felt threatened by a Bossier City official
BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) — “There’s gonna’ be a time when I am going to run that [expletive deleted] over with a Zamboni.”
That comment was caught on an open microphone during the Bossier City Council meeting Wednesday, Sept. 8. It was picked up on the city’s livestream and by a KSLA News 12 crew’s camera that was rolling during the proceedings.
The comment was made exactly 18 seconds after John Settle began walking out after voicing concerns about a possible violation of Louisiana’s open meetings law.
The comment also came after Councilman-at-large David Montgomery began asking a marshal to escort The Inquisitor publisher out of the city council chambers. And all of that happened moments before council members unanimously approved the appointment of the city’s new CAO.
On Thursday, Sept. 9, City Attorney Charles Jacobs admitted to making the comment.
“I, Charles Jacobs, made that comment. I sincerely apologize to Mayor Chandler, all members of the Bossier City Council, and most especially, to Ms. Amanda Nottingham, for the distraction,” Jacobs said in an email sent to KSLA Thursday morning.
Settle later told KSLA News 12 that he had reached out to Montgomery. KSLA News 12 also reached out to the councilman by cellphone, text and email but, as of Wednesday night, had not heard back.
“I think it’s unfortunate that an elected official makes threats to a member of the media at a public meeting,” Settle also told KSLA News 12. He added that he had contacted the Louisiana Press Association as well to see about any possible action.
KSLA News 12′s Doug Warner called Mayor Tommy Chandler and asked whether he heard the comment during the meeting. He said he did not. Warner asked the mayor if he would review the city’s video of the meeting and please get back to him.
As we mentioned earlier, Bossier City has a new chief administrative officer.
Council members unanimously agreed Wednesday to the hiring of Amanda Nottingham for the job and to paying her the same as the city’s previous CAO was paid.
“I believe she’s a home run for Bossier City,” Chandler said during the council members’ discussion of legislation authorizing Nottingham’s appointment to the post.
The legislation on the meeting’s agenda called for Nottingham to be hired as interim CAO and for her salary to be set at $70,000 a year plus benefits.
An interim CAO was being considered in the wake of Shane Cheatham’s announcement last week that he’s withdrawing as a candidate for the job.
Cheatham was the mayor’s original pick for CAO, but the appointment was met with resistance from the council.
Before approving Nottingham’s appointment Wednesday, council members unanimously agreed to drop “interim” from her title and to raise her salary to the same amount paid to the previous CAO. That amount was not publicly discussed during the meeting.
“I think it’s a violation of the open meetings law to make a substantive change to the agenda,” Settle told council members. “No offense to Ms. Nottingham, but I think it’s a major violation to change the agenda here from interim to regular. You have legal counsel and I think this body needs to recognize that the open meetings law, public records law applies to Bossier City and people are going to enforce that.”
City Attorney Charles Jacobs responded that the agenda was posted and it was more than permissible for the council to move forward with appointing Nottingham as CAO.
“Amendments are made in the regular course of business to propose resolutions in agendas,” Jacobs said. “The subject matter of the resolution was posted within the required time; therefore, it is my opinion that it is absolutely valid and legal for the counsel to take this action.”
As Settle was walking back to his seat, he turned to Jacobs and said “You’re a city attorney, not a judge.”
Nottingham then addressed council members as they had asked her to do. She identified herself as a former schoolteacher who went on to work for a legislator.
Previously during the meeting, Chandler cited Nottingham’s experience working at the state and local levels and with a nonprofit. The mayor also said he had interviewed her two to three times.
“I look forward to working with the mayor on our vision for short-term, long-term goals and moving Bossier forward,” Nottingham later told KSLA News 12. “We have a great foundation and I look forward to building on that.”
When asked about the council’s resistance to his original nominee, the mayor said there will always be a tug-of-war when a new administration comes in.
“It’s smoothing out now and we are fixing to really get a lot of things done for Bossier City and I am excited,” Chandler said. “With Ms. Nottingham by my side, we are really going to do some good stuff.”
The mayor said he also is working on nominations to fill other positions in his administration.
Below is the full agenda for Wednesday’s meeting:
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