Perryville mayor, commissioners at odds
Roath asks for resignation
PERRYVILLE — In an internal email sent from Mayor Matthew Roath to the four-person board of town commissioners, Roath sought the resignation of Commissioner Christina Aldridge.
“Commissioner Aldridge, I will again and profoundly ask that you resign from this board,” Roath’s email, dated Aug. 11, reads.
Roath accused the entire board — Commissioners Michelle Linkey, Robert Taylor and Tim Snelling included — of accomplishing “a new all-time low” and called out Aldridge specifically for what he called “childish and severely irresponsible actions” adding such “will not go without repercussions.”
“You are so clearly unworthy of the seat, you are a significant embarrassment to this board/town and quite frankly you are a legal liability,” he said.
Roath told the Whig on Tuesday that this was an internal email meant for the board’s eyes only.
“It is supposed to be confidential and reiterates exactly what my concerns are,” he said Tuesday.
Aldridge, in a prepared statement issued along with the internal email, said she was “shocked and rendered speechless” by the content of Roath’s email.
“As an elected official I never would’ve have expected to be belittled, demeaned and threatened by another elected official, with whom I am supposed to work,” Aldridge said in her statement. “I have witnessed the dirty side of politics but I never would have imagined this coming from a fellow board member.”
She added that she is not leaving the position to which she was appointed in May.
“I will NOT be offering my resignation in any shape or form,” she added. “I am committed to serving the people of Perryville with integrity.”
Aldridge’s statement claims that, while Roath states reasons for her dismissal, he “never mentioned any factual reasons.”
Linkey and Taylor both said they agree with the facts laid out in Aldridge’s letter.
“The mayor did ask her to resign in this email to the board as well as during a prior work session,” Taylor said Tuesday.
Roath also demands a detailed explanation from Linkey for her attendance at a recent meeting of the board of the Community Fire Company of Perryville.
“You made it abundantly clear the other day that you side with the culprits on this and not the victim,” Roath’s email reads, with emphasis provided by Roath, adding “YOU DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME. Ma’am, you are not qualified.”
Roath blames this on a recent social media episode in which Sam Grow, a country singer who performed at a benefit for the fire company, got online and repeated rumors he heard that Perryville in general – and Roath specifically – were planning to slash the town’s donation to the fire company.
At the Aug. 17 work session, Christopher Culler, 2nd assistant chief of the fire department, publicly apologized to the mayor and each commissioner for his role in the post.
“It was never a malicious intent to cast a negative light on the town or the fire department,” Culler said. “I am truly sorry for the post and the consternation that came with it.”
Brad Willis, chief of the department, added his apology.
“This is not the standard we hold ourselves to. Things were said that are better left unsaid and information that should have been kept confidential was not,” Willis said. “I take full responsibility for that.”
In the email sent last week, Roath stated he never had any formal discussions with the fire department.
“The idea that I am cutting their funding or cutting them out is an absurd and vicious lie meant, strategically, to leverage our board into giving them MORE until MORE isn’t enough,” the email states. “You should all be ashamed of yourselves for misrepresenting this board and this town simply to re-elect your incompetent ‘buddy.’
Roath said Tuesday he was not expecting this kind of resistance when he took the office after winning election in May, adding that Aldridge “has been an opponent of mine since I came on board.”
“It’s no secret
has not been a willing participant in the new regime,” he said. “I am giving them the opportunity of working together or getting out of the way.”
Linkey said she, like Aldridge, has no plans to resign.
“My plan is to continue to work for the town to the best of my ability,” Linkey said.
Taylor noted all the commissioners bring different talents and expertise to the board and represent 20 years of combined service to the town
“We are all dedicated to serving our terms in office with pride and professionalism for the people of Perryville,” Taylor said.
In his final salvo, Roath told the board he does not look forward to “cleaning up your messes over the next few years.”
“But I’m the most capable, willing and motivated person to do it,” he said.
“Much like my request to Commissioner Aldridge, if you plan to continue to damage the credibility of this board and waste the financial resources we have, please provide... your resignation letters immediately,” the mayor said in the email sent Tuesday. “If you choose not to, I can assure you, when you’re up for re-election you’ll be met with similar tactics but ones that are actually successful.”
Commissioner Snelling said, while not going into detail, he has also “had some battles with [Roath] a couple of times on the phone.”
Snelling said Roath needs to work with the board.
“We all have the same intention to make the town good for everybody,” Snelling said. “We want to do what’s best for the town whether he’s on board or not.”
When contacted by phone, Aldridge said simply, “I’m just fed up with constantly that Christina Aldridge being belittled.”