Archive for Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mayor apologizes at council meeting

September 11, 2007

Tonganoxie Mayor Mike Vestal apologized to the people of Tonganoxie at Monday night's City Council meeting for an e-mail he forwarded that contained the picture of a naked woman and a joke about Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

"I want to make a public apology to all of my citizens of Tonganoxie if I have offended anybody. I've made a mistake and I want to own up to that mistake. It will never happen again. I just hope you all can forgive me. I would just like to carry on as the mayor of Tonganoxie and I'm very sorry," Vestal said.

The e-mail in question said, "Next Monday is National Female Breast Appreciation Day." It then showed a picture of a woman and her naked breasts. Underneath the picture were the words "Beats the (expletive) out of Martin Luther King Day! Doesn't It?"

Vestal admitted to sending the e-mail Aug. 31 from his account to a "couple of guys." He also inadvertently sent it to a 6News reporter.

Bill Peak, a Tonganoxie resident, was the first one to step up to the podium and share his feelings about the whole situation.

"Mayor ... dumb, dumb, dumb. But from a person that's never made a mistake, I accept your apology; I think we all do," Peak said. "You don't want to insult women, you don't want to insult Martin Luther King. It was stupid and let's move on. I know you have Tonganoxie's best interest at heart."

Bonnie Sivyer, of Tonganoxie, also expressed her support for the mayor.

"I appreciate what you've done for the community. I think I've seen a lot of improvements," Sivyer said. "I support you 100 percent. I'm not even going to say, 'stupid, stupid, stupid' for what happened to you. I'm not going to do any of those things because I think you've done a wonderful job."

Sivyer left the podium with a round of applause.

But not everyone in the council chamber was happy with the support the mayor was getting. Gail Mailen said she hadn't planned on speaking about the issue but did want to share her unhappiness with the mayor's "fans."

"Not everybody in town is happy about this," Mailen said. "I do believe that it violated the code of conduct in the city codes."

Tonganoxie city employees are required to sign an agreement that prohibits employees to "knowingly communicate, download, or forward anything that might be construed as harassing, hostile or offensive based on ethnicity, race, sex, disability, age, religion or national origin."

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