It won’t go away. The Luther Town Board meeting last October (the day the school bond issue failed, incidentally) that became a local TV news and internet hit came up again in the January Special Meeting of the Luther Town Board.
To refresh, here’s the video of the meeting in which then-Mayor Birlene Langley accused fellow board member Ron Henry of laughing at her grandson. Then Langley’s daughter, Michelle Jeffries confronted Henry. Then the police were brought in to break up the melee. The incident is at the very end of the video.
What many might not know is that Town Trustee Henry filed citizen’s complaints with the police department that night against Jeffries and Colton Kuhlman. Jeffries and Kuhlman countered with their own complaints against Henry. And the whole file full of charges and countercharges has been sitting at the Oklahoma County District Attorneys office since December. The town sent the cases to the DA’s office because the town judge and prosecutor serve at the pleasure of the board, a conflict of interest. If the DA doesn’t take up the case, the town will have to hire a special prosecutor and judge to handle the cases.
The charges are misdemeanors of “disorderly conduct” or “disturbing the peace.”
What came up in tonight’s Special Meeting involving that night were two issues;
- Trustee Birlene Langley questioned a portion of Town Attorney Bryan Drummond’s invoice: “call with Mr. Henry, advising B. Drummond, as Town Attorney, cannot represent him in criminal matters, and also that the Town cannot pay for his defense.” Langley said that the town should not even pay for that portion of the phone call. The three members of the board making up the quorum agreed to seek to amend the bill. Henry was not at the meeting citing a family emergency, nor was Cecelia Taft whose mother passed away this week. Here’s Video of Langley and Jackson at Thursday night’s meeting.
- For the first time in recent memory, the town board accepted public comments during a meeting. Jeffries was the first to make a comment you can watch here.
Although citing the Open Meeting Act with an understanding that board members cannot respond to pubic comments, Mayor Jackson did invite Jeffries to call or email her to detail what actions she is expecting the board to take in the matter.
In other business:
- The board agreed to pay bills in the amount of $38,847 (minus the part of the attorney’s fee involving Henry’s call) the town incurred for items such as postage, supplies, insurance, and the 2015 audit. Most of the police department’s $5,434 in bills were not approved until Chief Marcus Thurman can vouch for some of the expenses.
- In a separate item, the board agreed to give Fire Chief Jason Miller a $600 budget to buy a copier-scanner-printer, in part to improve privacy of patrons served by the department.
- Trustee Carolyn Lawson agreed to represent the Board on the town’s Planning Commission.
- The Luther Public Works Authority also met and agreed to allow a $500 expenditure of a tablet computer to assist the maintenance department.
- Robert Jarrard Curtis was promoted as senior maintenance staff.