SEAT PLEASANT – Mayor Eugene Grant is working out of a mobile office in front of City Hall after claiming the city council evicted him. “The members of the council voted to have me evicted from my office, in essence closing down the office,” Grant said. “So we’re turning this office into an opportunity. We’ve […]
SEAT PLEASANT – Mayor Eugene Grant is working out of a mobile office in front of City Hall after claiming the city council evicted him.
“The members of the council voted to have me evicted from my office, in essence closing down the office,” Grant said. “So we’re turning this office into an opportunity. We’ve coined the term of mobile mayor and set up a tent. We’re starting at City Hall.”
Grant plans on traveling to different locations throughout the city to meet with constituents and visitors and anyone who wants to meet with him to discuss concerns and address issues.
The city council voted to kick Grant out of his office by a 4-2 vote, with one council member absent, after he was accused of creating a hostile work environment for employees. Grant said no allegations have been brought to him concerning the matter.
“The challenge that I have with that is that there was no due process of law,” Grant said. “A person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in our judicial system and they just took what was allegations and accepted them to be facts and put themselves as prosecutor, jury, judge and executioner which I think is totally inappropriate and it’s not in the place of democracy.”
Gloria Sistrunk, a resident of Seat Pleasant since 1963, said she does not think the rumors about the mayor creating a hostile work environment are true.
“I’ve known the mayor for a very long time and the fact is the mayor is a man about business,” Sistrunk said. “If you come to work and do your job, there’s no problem.”
Sistrunk said she is confused because the city council has taken action against the mayor, but she thinks residents have stopped attending meetings because the council has also been rude.
“They have flipped and said it’s the mayor,” Sistrunk said. “If the mayor does not have any authority to hire or fire, then how can he create a hostile environment? I mean, let’s think about this. He has no power. The city council over the last six years has stripped him of all his power. So how can you create a hostile environment with no power behind it?”
Lamar Maxwell, president of the Seat Pleasant Civic Association said he supports the mayor because he supports balanced government.
“We are tired of being pushed aside so their personal interests can grow,” Maxwell said. “I believe that with this movement that we have here, it’s more than just power or one person controlling everything. It’s about the people and that’s what I’m here for, I’m an advocate of the people.”
Aaron Pruitt, executive director of membership for the People of Change Coalition, said he supports the mayor and thinks the city council has a personal vendetta against Grant.
“It just seems not right,” said Pruitt. “They won’t let the city of Seat Pleasant be excellent.”
Councilwoman Aretha Stephenson said she thinks the mayor’s mobile initiative is a way to sensationalize his eviction. According to Stephenson, none of the council members have office space except for the council chambers which are shared by the entire council and the mayor.
“We’re all part-time workers, part-time council workers,” said Stephenson. “This office was a privilege for the mayor to have and if he cannot conduct himself in a professional manner then we have no choice but to take the office from him and separate him from the employee.”
Stephenson said Grant has only been evicted from his office, not city hall. He may still enter the building whenever he wants.
“With him running to the press and not even coming to the council to discuss things and sit down with us to me is (not) conducive to what he’s trying to do,” said Stephenson. “He goes running to the newspapers.”