One Camden County Associate Commissioner stands by his words after being asked to acknowledge an error he allegedly made and to apologize to former Planning and Zoning Board member, Bill Pragman. Pragman's term recently expired. Commissioner Luber replaced him with Nancy Osborne.
During the May 10 Camden County Commission meeting, Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken and Associate Commissioner Cliff Luber were at odds on a few matters including planning and zoning issues. One of the situations brought up in the recording was the rezoning of a land owned by the Pittman family.
The recording reveals that Luber was upset that a family who had farmed on their land for generations had their land rezoned without their knowledge and to correct the issue, they had to pay hundreds of dollars. Luber brought up that Pragman asked Pittman what type of animals he planned on having and on May 10 said, "like it was any of Pragman's business."
Pragman was not at the commission meeting but apparently took offense to the comment. On June 21, more than a month after the recording, he emailed all three commissioners his concerns and asked for an apology. On July 1, the commission saw the largest citizen turn out since they put a public comment segment on the meeting's agendas. Suzie Johnson, a Camden County Republican, read Pragman's letter asking for an apology, on his behalf. He was not in attendance at the meeting.
Luber addressed the letter by saying that he stood by his words and did not plan on giving an apology.
The meeting then took an unexpected turn when, Nancy Steward, a member of the audience, spoke up and said that in the same recording, Franken addressed members of the Lake Area Conservative Club, LACC, and went as far as to call them "extremists." Steward felt as if Franken needed to be held accountable for his words as well.
Franken responded to Steward, thanking her for her comments but he did not address her comment regarding comments about the LACC.
The recording of the May 10 meeting included more discussion between Franken and Luber. Fingers were pointed, accusations were made and voices were raised. The recording can be heard in its entirety at camdenmo.org.
During the July 1 meeting, Kim Krostue also spoke up against Commissioner Luber. In a letter to the commission, Krostue urged Luber to stop writing opinion pieces like the ones he recently published on a lake area website.
"Attacking your peers and county staff in the press is not leadership, it's harassment," Krostue said. "Using the press in this manner is not a sign of strength; it's a sign of weakness. If your ideas are not accepted by your peers, it's not their problem. It's yours. No salesman ever got away with the excuse that he had bad clients."
Page 2 of 2 - He went on to say that the published pieces were disruptive and told Luber to simply, "Stop it."
Luber did not respond to Krostue's letter.
After the meeting, Luber did say that he felt like most of the comments were "politically motivated."
All commissioners listened to Krostue and many others that chose to attend the July 1 meeting for various reasons.
Commission meetings have always been public meetings. Now, the meetings include a "public comment" portion at the beginning of all meetings.
Pragman or Franken could not be reached for comment following Monday's meeting.