The Stonecrest City Council approved a resolution at a special called meeting on Monday (Oct. 4) to censure Mayor Jason Lary for stating that he would show his “hairy behind” the next time anyone failed to follow protocol by acknowledging his presence during city council meetings.
Mayor Lary said he made the comment at the Sept. 27 City Council meeting because he was frustrated at the disrespect shown by a City department head who greeted Mayor pro tem George Turner and the rest of the council but failed to recognize him at the meeting. The mayor said the same thing happened at a previous meeting.
The mayor said he has returned to City Council meetings, despite continuing to go through cancer treatment and his presence should be acknowledged along with the rest of the council.
“I’m still going through treatment and I am here because I don’t want to miss any more (meetings). So, I get frustrated at times when things happen and when they are diliberate and idiotic and mean-spirited,” Lary said.
Lary said he also is frustrated that the City Council eliminated his car allowance while he was out on sick leave. He said he doesn’t understand how that can happen when the council approved paying an annual salary of $209,000 to Acting City Manager Janice Allen Jackson.
Turner said Lary’s comments were inappropriate to city staff members, council members, and the public, which heard the remarks live via YouTube during the virtual meeting. He said he requested the censure to ensure that the public did not view the council’s inaction as complicit.
“…What the mayor said is unacceptable and does not represent City Council,” Turner said during the special called meeting.
The City Council passed the resolution 4-1 with Councilmember Jimmy Clanton casting the dissenting vote.
Clanton said that while he agreed that inappropriate comments and behavior by the city’s elected officials is unacceptable, the resolution should first define what constitutes a violation.
“We should at least define by resolution what constitutes a violation—civility or decorum—and what the penalties are,” Clanton said. “We should have the guidelines first before taking action on a resolution.”
The resolution stated Mayor Lary made the following comment at the Sept. 27 City Council meeting:
“Thank you, Mayor Pro Tem. I’ll be brief. I appreciate the work that you all are doing. But I’m going to ask city staff and other folks that come on this call, if you don’t know protocol you better learn it with me. You don’t recognize Mayor Pro Tem and council and just leave me standing like I’m not at the meeting. I will show you my hairy behind the next time it happens. And that’s the only warning I’m going to give with this. I don’t deserve any disrespect—from any member or any person or any entity. It shouldn’t be that way.”
The resolution also stated: “The City Council formally CENSURES, REBUKES, and CONDEMNS in the strongest possible terms Mayor Jason Lary for his boorish and discourteous statement made at the public meeting held on September 27, 2021, as referenced herein. The public should understand that such behavior is not condoned and will not be tolerated.”
The resolution calls for the Acting City Manager to present a policy governing decorum at public meetings with appropriate sanctions, for review and consideration at the Oct. 11 work session of the City Council.