Controversial committee granted use of facility
by Clay Neely
Accusations of lying, adultery and child neglect were hurled at Grantville Mayor Jim Sells by Grantville Coalition of Concerned Citizens member Marion “Sarge” Cieslik during Monday’s Grantville City Council meeting.
“You’re the most reprehensible, disgusting mayor this city has ever had. What you’ve done to your children, your wife, is disgusting,” Cieslik said. “You’ve brought nothing here and you’re a liar. You’re out of here in November.”
Cieslik is a member of the Grantville Coalition of Concerned Citizens, commonly referred to as the GCCC, and is also a mayoral candidate for the election in November.
The outburst was in regards to the GCCC.’s request to use the Clements-Malcolm Recreation Building to conduct its regular meetings. The fee for the usage of the building was the primary source of contention.
Council Member Barham Lundy initially made a motion to allow the GCCC to hold its meetings at the facility – an item that was not on the agenda for the meeting.
Lundy’s initial motion called for the regular fee to be waived.
Cieslik offered to put down a $100 deposit in lieu of a rental fee along with using the building during non-peak hours, between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoons.
“If possible, I could pick up a key on Friday afternoon and I’d be personally responsible for anything that happens,” Cieslik said.
“Usually a city official would do that,” Councilman David Riley said. “My only concern with this is making sure there is an officer to open and close the building. If there is nothing else scheduled for the building, I see no problem with it.”
“You, sir, can stand up here and call me names and that’s just fine,” Sells said, speaking to Cieslik. “But if you were really concerned about our city as much as you claim, what you should do is pay the darn fee. Then you have done the city right.”
While Sells views the GCCC as a hate group, Councilman Johnny Cooks disagrees.
“I understand that they have opinions about a particular individual or the entire council in general, but I don’t view that as being a hate group,” Cooks said. “They have a difference of opinion with some specific individuals and it depends on the topic at the time.”
Cooks even acknowledged making comments on the group’s web page in regards to issues that were directed at him.
“But I don’t see them as a hate group,” Cooks said. “For the most part, they are concerned citizens who are trying to constructively attempt to create ideas and concepts to move citizens forward and the system overall.”
Cooks supports the group but doesn’t agree they should be excluded from paying fees to use the city’s facilities.
City Attorney Mark Mitchell advised the council that waiving fees would create a slippery slope for future usage.
“Unless you have clear guidelines in waiving the fee, you’re opening it up,” Mitchell said. “When the next group comes in and says, ‘We can’t afford it,’ then you waive the fee, then you’ve treated them differently.”
Lundy then amended his motion and asked for the GCCC to pay a flat rate of $10 dollars for use of the facility.
When the motion failed to get seconded, Lundy then asked for a flat fee of $25 dollars.
“Let’s say the Ku Klux Klan wants to have a meeting. We’re going to give them a flat rate of $10 or $25 dollars? We’re opening the barn door here,” Sells said. “If you don’t charge the normal fee, you’ve opened the door to more horrors than this horror.”
Lundy amended his motion once again to allow the GCCC usage of the Clements-Malcolm Recreational Center but paying the normal rate of $25 per hour.
While the measure was then passed unanimously, Sells remained unconvinced of the group’s intentions.
“The members of your political group don’t give a flip about our town,” Sells said. “The citizens who are actually doing something for this town are the ones your group seems to tear down the most.”
In other business at the council meeting:
• A hearing to examine the demolition of two abandoned buildings within the Grantville city limits was scheduled to take place at the next city council meeting.
• Pastor Render A. Godfrey of Pure Worship Deliverance Tabernacle requested to hold a tent revival. A specific date has not been set but is expected to occur in August.
• A request to appoint Peter Stasio to the vacant position on the Downtown Development Authority was passed unanimously.
• The contract to renew with Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging was approved unanimously.