Panama City Commissioners Nix Anderson Hearing

By: Dana Arquilla
By: Dana Arquilla

It really wasn't expected to be a "debate," but that is what it turned in to.

The issue began when new board member Justin Anderson voiced concern over the Downtown Improvement Board bylaws.

According to Mayor DeGeorge, Chairman Don Anderson cursed him and accused him of snooping around the office. These two men came together and worked out their differences, but instead of the issue being over, Mayor DeGeorge pushed for more.

DeGeorge also says Chairman Anderson instructed staff to prevent board members from coming onto the DIB premises, and instructed members to be "rude" to citizens, and treat them as the "enemy."

DeGeorge pushed for Don Anderson's removal from the board, but commissioners decided to let the two men work it out themselves. They did, but apparently it still isn't sitting well with DeGeorge.

Katherine Hanline, Commissioner, said, "If these gentlemen have worked it out and are ready to get on with business and get on with the work of the DIB, then why won't you let them?"

Mayor Laure DeGeorge said, "Commissioner Hanline, it's the attitude. It's the attitude toward...."

Hanline: Tthese people have apologized to each other, do you want them to apologize to you?"

DeGeorge: "No, Mr. Don Anderson needs to apologize to the citizens of this city for calling them the enemy."

Commissioner Hanline believes the mayor has her own agenda.

Hanline: "I think you need to be honest. I think you need to be upfront and honest. I think Mr. Anderson's buttons were pushed, I think this was a set up from the get go, otherwise the TV cameras wouldn't have been set up at your disposal for you to go in there. I'm starting to get upset about this.

"I wasn't at that meeting."

"You were there shortly after, honey."

John Pilcher, City Commissioner, said, "Now if you want to take Mr. Anderson out back and shoot him, you'll have to get with the police chief on that, but I think enough blood's been drawn, there's been enough embarrassment. I think everybody knows there're apologetic and they've expressed their desire to move on."

DeGeorge still disagrees, but a vote was passed to not have a hearing on this issue.

DeGeorge: "So we did, we effectively swept it under the carpet."

Hanline: "Yes we did. Now let's go sweep up something else."

City attorney Rowlette Bryant is creating a new set of bylaws, and plans to have them by the next meeting.

On a more positive note, the mayor and commissioners agreed to put forth stronger efforts to insure safer neighborhoods. They'll be assessing the street lights in certain neighborhoods, and will walk down streets to make sure no gang-related activities are taking place.


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