The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday took the unusual step of removing a member of the city’s beer board after two members said he had been disruptive and argumentative, and turned what had been smooth-running and efficient meetings into “veritable circuses.”
The disruptive behavior of Oak Ridge Beer Permit Board member Pedro Otaduy had caused at least two board members to consider resigning, which would cripple the board’s ability to act, City Manager Mark Watson said.
Board chairman Randy Tedford said Otaduy spoke without being recognized by the chair at meetings, failed to follow proper procedures, raised issues that weren’t on meeting agendas, and provided legal advice to applicants, which is unlawful when done without a law license and could result in litigation. Attempts to rein in Otaduy’s behavior had been unsuccessful, Tedford said.
“I just don’t think he’s a good fit for this board,” he told Council members on Monday.
“The problem isn’t necessarily the disagreements he’s had with the board,” Beer Board Secretary William Barton Bailey said. “It’s the way he disagreed with the board.”
But Otaduy disagreed. He urged Council to ignore the request to remove him.
Responding to letters written by Tedford and Bailey, Otaduy said Tedford acts like a dictator, and he dismissed the letters from Tedford and Bailey as “malarkey.” Otaduy said the seven-member board has been emasculated and serves as a rubber stamp for the city administration.
“There is no other solution than to replace the whole board, including the city liaison (Senior Staff Attorney Tammy Dunn),” Otaduy said.
Council voted 5-1-1 to oust Otaduy. Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn voted “no,” and Council member Anne Garcia Garland abstained.
Otaduy had been appointed in December to fill a vacant seat. That term expires Dec. 31.