BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — Things are getting off to a rocky start for Bonita Springs City Government as newly elected Mayor Rick Steinmeyer left quite the impression at yesterday's city council meeting.
In the first meeting since the election, Bonita Springs City council members came together to not only be sworn into office but also discuss pressing issues. While all City Council members were re-elected, the citizens of Bonita Springs chose a new mayor, who some say, did not get off to a good start, including councilman Chris Corrie of District 4.
“The way the meeting got started it was very heated between the mayor and at least 2 of the council people, over just the meeting getting started he wanted to change the order of the agenda. I sort of thought he had the right to do that or make that request, but it could have been handled a little more smoothly. We got into the first zoning issue and it got real heated at that point. He was tired of the issue he wanted to call for a vote and really didn’t want to hear anybody else's opinion at that point and I think it was pretty much an embarrassment,” said Chris Corrie, Bonita Springs City Councilman, District 4.
“I can’t hear you and I don't want to listen to you,” said Mayor Rick Steinmeyer, in Wednesday's city council meeting.
According to Councilmember Jesse Purdon of District 2, there were parliament rules that needed to be followed, to which the mayor became verbally upset raising his voice at Purdon.
“I don't want to debate you, sir, don't interrupt,” yelled Mayor Steinmeyer.
Purdon says, there is a level of respect that must be followed in order to take care of business.
“When you're shutting down another councilperson or you're totally ignoring the things that they are concerned about, you're shutting your district down. It's not appropriate, there are 60,000 citizens of Bonita Springs, there 7 people who vote. So nobody gets shut down everybody gets heard and if there is a process we’re going to follow it,” said Jesse Purdon, Bonita Springs Councilman District 2.
Many pressing issues at Wednesday's meeting were on the table, however, due to the clash of personalities, the city attorney and others had to step in, taking 2 recesses, causing the business to get backed up.
Voted in by the people, two long-term residents of Bonita Springs who attend council meetings regularly say, they hope there will be some type of consensus soon.
“I have spoken to the mayor briefly. I know he and I agree on some issues but I'm sure we will disagree, but the council has to learn to work together for the city to run efficiently,” said Dwight Esmon, long-time Bonita Springs resident.
“These are non-partisan positions, the city council is a non-partisan group so personal politics and personal feelings should not enter into it. They should have respect for one another and respect for the growth and security of our city,” said Barbara Ogle, long-time Bonita Springs Resident.
At this time Mayor Rick Steinmeyer had not returned our calls for comment, but city council members tell us they plan to have a workshop to come together and learn how to work cohesively for the betterment of Bonita Springs.