BOCC pledge of civility stretched

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 10:48 AM.

Maybe it was the length of a meeting that spanned over three hours or maybe the issues.

But regardless of the backdrop, the meeting of the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday devolved over the last 45 minutes into a highly-personal and loud discussion.

The spark was Commissioner Joanna Bryan mentioning a meeting last week with officials at Health Check (see related story A1) during which president and CEO Carol Kelley announced that the company’s planned expansion would not take place in Gulf County.

Bryan said that Kelley noted incentives being offered in Mississippi which were attractive, but also noted that Kelley, in her remarks to local economic, county and municipal officials, said that a significant reason the company would not add 50 new jobs in Gulf County was the environment, particularly the political environment.

“A lot of what she said had to do with the culture, the power structure,” Bryan said, echoing Kelley’s comments, particular Commissioner Carmen McLemore’s characterization of newcomers to the community as “blow-ins.”

“She just doesn’t feel she has the support from this board,” Bryan said.

Commissioner Tan Smiley took exception, saying he talks to people all day and he was tired of any criticism, from Bryan or others coming to the podium of the BOCC.

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