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Harsh words in Sopchoppy

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By NANCY IMPERIALE
STAFF WRITER

Although the Sopchoppy City Commission discussed several measures at their Aug. 23 budget workshop – from streetscaping to speed bumps to cost-of-living rasises for staff – the discussion was marred by harsh language from Commissioner Glenn Rudd, particularly against Commissioner Becton Roddenberry.
Sopchoppy Mayor Lara Edwards is concerned enough that she plans to discuss “decorum” at the next regular city commission meeting on Sept. 11.
“I’m going to say something about our overall decorum,” Edwards said this week. “That we just need to keep our personal insults and attacks to a minimum. We’re all together until the election in 2018, and we’ve got a lot of decisions and budgeting to do until then.”
Commissioner Roddenberry said he is glad Edwards is bringing up the issue.
“I’m glad she’s doing that because this has been long overdue,” Roddenberry said this week. “This is something that I have been concerned about since being appointed to the commission in 2015...And I’m just gonna call it out for what it is and not beat around the bush: Councilman Rudd is very inappropriate at meetings. He yells, he raises his voice, he interrupts people, he curses, he delivers personal attacks. He just has no composure about him whatsoever. It’s very unprofessional behavior and very counter-productive when you’re trying to work on city business.”
Roddenberry said he is going to propose that the city begin recording meetings in an attempt to offer more transparency and accountability.
Rudd and other council members could not be reached for comment on deadline.
Edwards cautioned that she doesn’t want the arguments to damage the city’s reputation or single out one person for criticism.
Rudd is “a volunteer on city council, a first responder, a volunteer firefighter for the city, he works full time. He is a good man,” Edwards said. “He just has an abrupt personality and wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t feel he needs to surgarcoat anything.
“Our council is all different personalities. I like everybody,” the mayor added. “I can see through all their different personality traits, because when it comes down to it, we’re all up there because we want to do the best for the city of Sopchoppy.”