Ousted Pelham council president criticizes city leaders in meeting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pelham city councilmember Mike Dickens criticized some of his fellow council members and mayor Bobby Hayes Monday night before calling to a close his final meeting as the council&8217;s president.

Dickens spoke during the regular council meeting to a crowd of 30-plus people.

In an unexpected move, the Pelham council voted 3-1 at its Aug. 7 council meeting to remove Dickens as president of the council and replace him with Council President Pro Tempore Karyl Rice.

Councilmember Willard Payne made the motion, which was not scheduled on the agenda and had not been discussed in previous meetings, to replace Dickens as president.

Payne said he opted to vote for Rice to replace Dickens because he felt like it would be a good experience for her.

Dickens criticized the council members Payne,

Rice and Rosemary Metcalf for the vote – which he compared to a &8216;coup&8217;.

&8220;The real issue is not that it happened,&8221; Dickens said of the vote to oust him as president. &8220;But how it happened.&8221;

Dickens said the motion was never discussed prior to the vote in council or pre-council.

&8220;No rule requires the council to discuss this matter,&8221; he said. &8220;But I never brought anything to this council without discussing it first with all parties involved.&8221;

Dickens said the vote will make him &8220;more resolute now to do what I feel is right.&8221;

Hayes declined to comment on Dickens&8217; speech following the meeting, saying he did not want to get in to a war of words.

Rice begins her tenure at next Monday&8217;s regular council meeting, in which the council will discuss the city&8217;s 2007 budget