Downtown Discussion Continues

Managing Editor

A St. Marys resident looking to form a committee to better the downtown area asked St. Marys Mayor Pat McGowan to resign during Monday's city council meeting.

John Burd, who organized a town hall meeting last week to discuss ways to revitalize downtown St. Marys, pointed out to council about McGowan's misconduct, the lack of leadership in the city's revitalization efforts of downtown St. Marys and asked the mayor to resign from his position. 

The latter, however, did not happen.

Burd said McGowan began the bickering between the two during last week's meeting, stated that McGowan verbally abused members of the St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce and that McGowan used profanity when Burd confronted him at the mayor's home later in the week.

"I don't consider that to be the right way for the mayor of the city of St. Marys to conduct himself," Burd said. "With his prejudices and his attitude right now, the honorable thing for him to do it step down and resign as mayor of the city of St. Marys. And let somebody come in, pick up the ball and lead this town the way that it should be led."

Councilman John Bubp stated to Burd that he was the one who started the confrontation at the town hall meeting and falsely stated that the city had no interest in being involved with the revitalize efforts when five council members, the mayor and the law director attended the meeting on behalf of the city.

"We don't need the confrontation and you are here again confronting everybody," Bubp added. "If we want to get something done, let's work together and be supportive.

"Don't say that we don't want anything to do with it."

Discussion then turned into a he a said, he said with Burd regarding what the mayor and other city officials have said about helping the revitalize efforts or the state of the downtown efforts before Councilman Al-Large Todd Fleagle told Burd that if he is going to pick apart what people say, he was unsure how the city would be able to get anywhere.

"Everybody sitting up here in this room knows there is a problem with the uptown," Fleagle said. "How can you get resistance when you have five council people there at the first meeting? I grew up in this town just as well as you did and everybody is concerned about the uptown and we all want to do something about, but we need cooperation."

McGowan admitted that he did vent and used profanity when speaking chamber members regarding their association with Burd.

"I don't remember it being directed at any one individual and personally, I don't regret what I had to say," he said. "Could I have been more professional? Yes I could have, but when I get emotional about stuff, I gotta say what I gotta say.

"As far as John Burd stopping by my house, he has no right to stop by my house and start the stuff he usually comes up with and if I use profanity with him, I don't regret it one bit."

Fleagle and Councilman At-Large Dan Uhlenhake both reiterated that everyone needs to get over the bickering between parties and that council and the city are behind business owners in its effort to revitalize downtown.

"We need to work with the city and work with the chamber because we are not going to gain anything if we sit here and argue about it in the meeting," Fleagle said.

Bubp closed that portion of the meeting stating that he would like to see the committee move forward and added that he signed up to be on it, but suggested it have more of a professional leading the committee than Burd. He added, however, that he did not have a problem with Burd being on committee.