What once was a symbiotic campaign for public office is turning into a family feud.
That tension boiled over last night in an exchange between Wendell Mayor Harold Broadwell and Commissioner Sid Baynes.
During the late stages of the meeting, Baynes questioned whether the town was acting by its own rules of procedure when commissioners agreed by a 3-2 vote to add an item about reorganizing the police department to their March 23 agenda.
The matter had originally been tabled until budget deliberations, which are to begin in mid-April because the reorganization was going to cost money.
Baynes questioned the decision to address the issue earlier by turning to the town board's newly-adopted rules of procedure. Town attorney Jim Cauley disagreed with Baynes' interpretation and ruled in order the motion to consider the changes before budget deliberations begin.
Then the fireworks began.
After Broadwell asked for discussion, Baynes spoke up. But Broadwell ruled him out of order for speaking before he was called on. "If we going to play by the rules, then let's play by the rules," Broadwell said.
He then ceded the floor to Baynes who unsuccessfully made his argument.
A few minutes later the meeting was adjourned, but Baynes wasn't through. He told Broadwell he didn't appreciate being called on the carpet in public. "I'm embarrassed because I promoted your run for mayor," Baynes said.
Broadwell told Baynes he thought the public chastisement wasn't really the issue. "Now you're unhappy because I disagree with you," Broadwell said.
Baynes asked Broadwell to wield his gavel equally among both sides of the table. (Baynes and Carol Hinnant, the two most frequent violators of the be-recognized-before-you-speak policy sit to Broadwell's left.)
Broadwell said he had called down other commissioners before, a claim Baynes disputed.
Commissioner Bill Connnolly approached the two men and told them it was time to go home. "We're not making any progress here," Connolly told them.
Baynes agreed, but he fired one more salvo at Broadwell. "He needs to lead fairly and arbitrarily. The only two people he has called down have been Carol and Sid," Baynes told Connolly. "I'm disappointed to say the least."