Four of seven council members sign civility pledge - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Four of seven council members sign civility pledge

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Columbia City Council members have been knownto disagree, but Mayor Steve Benjamin called for a discussion on the importance ofcivil discourse.

James McLawhorn, Jr., president of ColumbiaUrban League, and Henri Baskins, executive director of the Community RelationsCouncil, talked with members Tuesday night.

Mayor Benjamin then asked council to sign acivility pledge. Councilman Moe Baddourah did not feel comfortable signing thepledge Tuesday night.

"I'd like to have a day to look at thisbefore I sign it if that's okay. We just got this document just five minutesago," said Baddourah.

"Honestly, I'm not sure what exists onthis document that would not elicit unanimous support for it," said MayorBenjamin.

Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine said she'sokay with signing it, but doesn't think it's enough.

"We can sign this but the question is,are people signing it because you asked them and it looks good for the press?Or are they really committing to what this said," added Devine.

Councilwoman Leona Plaugh also had issueswith the pledge. She said the problems with council are deeper than the pledge.

"We need to talk, we need to communicate,and then come together and sign something of this nature and present it to ourpublic that we represent," said Plaugh.

Council members Sam Davis and Cameron Runyanwere in favor of signing.

"I don't have a problem signing this andI do agree that we need to continue some dialogue in terms of the perceptionsand maybe some other reasons that have brought us to this point," saidDavis.

"I'm very much in support of it. I thinkit's something that for new council members that probably should be part of theprocess when new folks are coming into city council that we start off on theright foot," added Runyan

The discussion ended with the Mayor sayingcouncil members could sign the pledge if and when they wanted to.

CouncilMembers Plaugh and Baddourah are the only two who did not sign the pledgeTuesday night. Councilman Newman was not at the meeting, but is expected tosign the pledge.

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