Bonita councilwoman under fire for behavior at public meetings
Fox 4 News Staff
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. - A Bonita Springs councilwoman has been put on notice for her behavior at public meetings
The mayor had wanted a reprimand, instead the councilwoman has been ordered to check her behavior at meetings as well as when she's dealing with city staff.
No one will deny Bonita Springs councilwoman Martha Simons likes to be outspoken at city council meetings. But Mayor Ben Nelson claims she's gone way too far.
Nelson alleges that Simons interrupts other council members during meetings, makes private comments to other council members regarding issues about to be voted on, and makes faces and mumbles comments while others are speaking.
“It's really disruptive and the rest of your council people shut down.” Nelson says.
Nelson also alleging Simons interrupts city workers on the job and uses her position to pressure them.
“And you start getting more phone calls and more phone calls and more phone calls from constituents and complaints from staff about behavior.”
But instead of reprimanding her, council voted 4 to 3 not to take any action against Simons for six months, in a sense giving her a trial period. After the meeting, we caught up with Simons.
“Do I think it was deserved? No, I don't think it was deserved in the manner that it happened. I think we could have gone to the city manager's office and had some conversations.” Simons replied.
Not everyone felt that Simons deserved to a very public slap on the wrist. One resident felt Simons was just doing her job. We asked the mayor about that.
What would you say to some who say your being a little hard on this councilwoman? FOX 4 asked Mayor Nelson.
“I would say I'm not.” Nelson replied.
Simons has been a Bonita Springs councilwoman for the past six years and says has done nothing wrong, just trying to serve the people in her community.