Leading up to the Branson Board of Aldermen’s meeting on May 4, an email thread between some elected city officials got heated.
A dispute between Alderman Larry Milton and Mayor Edd Akers about the timing of the most recent aldermen meeting led to the mayor, in an email thread obtained by the Branson Tri-Lakes News, to refer to Milton as “a bully” and that Milton needs to “seek Medical help.” That was in response to an email from Milton that questioned Akers’ leadership.
“We should not be playing personal whatever games. We need focus on the future,” stated Akers in his email. “I purposely did not respond on your thread. I am sure you will spread it around. You know you try to bully people to get your way. It does not work with me. As a added note of concern. I am not the only one who has noticed your not remembering. Suggest you seek Medical help in all sincerity. For you and those you really care about.”
Akers also highlighted the “serious decisions” that would have to be made to safely reopen Branson.
“Larry I am not sure if you truly do not remember or constantly live in the past. We need to focus on the future of Branson. Get over that you cannot have a Special called meeting at one time without an agenda and without having a majority. You had a conflict at that time and I mentioned to you. It is past get over it. You don’t remember 3 of you walking out because I was holding you accountable to vote. You don’t remember telling folks you were playing games to control voting. Made up conflicts of interest.”
Those final comments referred to instances when Milton and two other aldermen abstained from certain votes, which prevented Akers from casting a deciding, tie-breaking vote.
Akers email was in response to an email from Milton in which Milton expressed his frustration that a meeting could not be called earlier.
“A true leader would have displayed leadership for our community and caused a meeting to happen,” Milton wrote. “You cannot control the BOA, but if you wanted a meeting, a true leader would have made that happen.”
In a phone interview this week with the Branson Tri-Lakes News, Akers said a meeting could not take place earlier because there would not have been a quorum.
“Milton put out a thing wanting to try to have a meeting, on his own. You set up meetings through the clerk, the clerk sends out the notice, the clerk did not get enoughs positives back for us to have a majority so we could have a meeting,” Akers said. “So I’m just telling him to get over it - that’s in the past.”
“He had sent a copy of his email, telling me I was a terrible person and he hopes the citizens find out how little I care about them and all this stuff. So, I have to admit, I finally had enough of it when he made allusions to the fact I could’ve called a meeting.
“He seems to ask the same thing over and over again, and I’m concerned about his memory.”
In a phone interview with Alderman Milton, he confirmed he had tried to set up a meeting for the previous Thursday, before the meeting that had taken place Monday, May 4. He also discussed his motives behind wanting to have the meeting at that time.
“I was asked, myself, Kevin McConnell and Rick Castillon, we were simply asking for the aldermen to meet last week to talk about removing the restrictions of our businesses and allow them to open up on Monday morning, May 4, just like the rest of the state,” said Milton in an interview.
“That was a simple request because every other community has put out advanced notice to let their communities know that Monday morning on May 4, you can open up for business under these guidelines. For some reason, city of Branson chose to not give our businesses any advanced notice.”
Akers said Monday was the earliest a quorum could be present for an official aldermen meeting to take place.
“The biggest frustration I have is Larry knows full well that you have to have a quorum to have a meeting, and that’s why I pointed out, when they got up and walked out or they gave conflict of interest reasons for not voting or they just didn’t show up in a meeting, they know very well that you have to have a majority to be able to do the process of the city,” said Akers in a phone interview. “It just seems like it’s a game that has been played, and it’s getting old.”
The aldermen meeting that took place on May 4, ultimately resulted in the immediate reopening of the city of Branson upon unanimous passage by the aldermen.