November 27, 2014

Morrow calls on Drovetta, Pugh to resign

Mark Taylor
mtaylor@gardnernews.com
Councilman Chris Morrow is calling on Mayor Dave Drovetta and Councilman Dennis Pugh to resign following an argument that started during Monday night’s council meeting and escalated into an altercation in front of Councilman Larry Fotovich’s house.
Pugh allegedly followed Fotovich home after the meeting and accosted him.
“Considering the ongoing intimidation tactics that seem to be employed by the mayor and most recently Dennis Pugh, first at council meetings and now following people to their homes in hopes of intimidating elected officials, I have to ask Councilman Pugh and Mayor Drovetta to resign,” Morrow told The Gardner News.
Morrow said he will request the resignations this week.
Attempts to acquire a copy of the incident report from the Gardner Police Department were unsuccessful at press time.
Ilena Spalding, public information officer for the Gardner Police Department, said the only information being released is that officers responded to a disturbance at Fotovich’s home at 9:50 p.m.
Information was taken from both parties for a report that will be forwarded to the district attorney’s office for possible charges.
Neither Fotovich, Pugh nor Drovetta returned phone calls seeking comment.
However, Pugh admitted in an online blog that he “tackled” Fotovich as he was “reaching into his pocket.”
The item Fotovich was reaching for was a video camera.
Pugh allegedly then took the camera from Fotovich and Fotovich called the police.
Tension between Pugh and Fotovich reached a boiling point earlier in the evening during a discussion about whether to videotape council meetings.
The discussion ended with Pugh telling Fotovich to “shut up” and then said, “I’d drag you into the back room and beat the shit out of you.”
Pugh then stormed out of the room and left the building, slamming doors on his way out.
“I know you were the kid who got picked on on the playground,” Mayor Dave Drovetta told Fotovich at the conclusion of the meeting. “And that’s why you act the way you do.”
Council member Chris Morrow told The Gardner News he was “troubled” by the incident.
“I find it troubling that an issue that should have been about transparency to the residents of the city turned into bullying efforts on the part of councilman Pugh and (Mayor) Drovetta.
“Four out of five council members have all supported recording council meetings since May of this year. Kristy Harrison and Brian Broxterman have been calling for meetings to be recorded since the fall of 2010.”
Pugh is the only council member to oppose recording council meetings.

Comments

  1. Mr. Morrow for taking a stand! This type of behavior by Pugh and Drovetta CANNOT be tolerated!

  2. GardnerPride says:

    Mr. Taylor, if you are going to quote an alternative site, it’s customary to provide credit to said site. The ‘blog’ you refer to is the GardnerEdge, and the author of the article you refer to is Peter Solie. Journalistic integrity should be honored at all times to avoid the questioning of your own credibility.

    With that being said, I agree with Mr. Morrow’s request of Mr. Pugh’s resignation. Based on the reports alone, nothing beyond his resignation would be acceptible.

    Though I hold Mayor Drovetta responsible for much of the disfunction of this Council, I do not see how his resignation would improve things in the least. There is an overall lack of leadership on the Council, and no member, including Mr. Morrow, has proven the ability to stand up and take the reigns. Until that happens, we will continue on this downward spiral, and be wasting too much energy on things that don’t improve the living environment in the City of Gardner.

    I also wonder if Mr. Morrow would be first in line to add his name to a Special Election ballot as mayoral candidate were Mayor Drovetta to resign. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this isn’t another power grab by those who oppose Mayor Drovetta and his supporters.

  3. And what of Fotovich? says:

    Morrow would be remiss in not asking for Fotovich’s resignation as well. If he’s truly concerned about the problems on the Council, he needs to be honest with us, and himself, that Fotovich’s behavior is every bit as much a problem as is the reactions he (Fotovich) always seems to be able to get from Drovetta and, now, Pugh.

    Without calling for Fotovich’s resignation, Morrow’s call is simply a partisan attack, nothing more.

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    Mr. Morrow gets my respect today and I am so glad that he is showing the integrity and ethics that need to be shown. The nucleus of our problems resides with Drovetta, in my opinion, resulting in actions shown by Pugh. Drovetta is usually more backstabbing and working in the dark but, in my opinion, he has brought about the culture and nurtured that culture that does the citizens of this area absolutely no good. He always exudes the personal, smooth exterior but the moral fabic of the man is very wanting in my opinion – I want him and Pugh out of office and Press out of our City Hall, however, my voice is just one of all of the citizens involved. I just hope the citizens won’t go for the flash and toothy smiles but get to the guts of the matter and finally see what has been going on for years now.

    In the meantime we get violence and assault all because there is a difference of opinion about video taping city meetings which should be done now and certainly not later.

  5. Fotovich is NOT the problem says:

    You cannot ask somebody to resign just for being annoying. Has Fotovich ever verbally threatened or physically assaulted anyone? Reprimand Drovetta and fire Pugh. Larry is the least of our problems in Gardner.

  6. @gardnerpride says:

    GardnerPride once again doing everything he can to keep Drovetta spotless. How does his steak dinner taste? Figured you’d know with your head so far up his ass.

  7. GardnerPride says:

    “Though I hold Mayor Drovetta responsible for much of the disfunction of this Council”

    Yep, that’s me putting the Mayor up on a pedestal. Sure enough.

  8. Fotovich IS the problem says:

    The Gardner City Council never seemed to have problems with screaming matches, Council members running crying to Gardner News every time they didn’t get their way, or with anything close to the nonsense that’s happened since Larry Fotovich was elected.

    Even when John Shepherd was on the Council playing realist to the rest of the Council’s optimism, you never saw the kind of childish behavior that we’re seeing now.

    What we HAVE had with Fotovich on the Council is an endless stream of petty, obstructive behavior from him. Negativity, behaving childishly, dragging every single issue that comes before the Council into some kind of major crisis that then gets repeated, verbatim, by his cohorts at Gardner News. And what we have now are the same set of people doing everything THEY can to pretend that Fotovich is some kind of innocent bystander to the garbage that keeps happening every time he opens his mouth.

  9. I think Larry F. is equally as culpable in creating this disharmony but I still have to ask as I am unsure when Larry has yelled at or confronted anyone. Have I missed it? Has he yelled and confronted members of the Council?

  10. Anybody who asks for the resignation of either Pugh or Fotovich without also asking for the resignation of the other is showing a political bias. It takes two to tango, and neither one of them are any more or less right or wrong than the other.

    To ask for the resignation of Pugh AND Drovetta, but NOT the resignation of
    Fotovich shows a ridiculously one-sided political agenda.

    Mr. Morrow, a TRUE leader would be working to resolve this conflict, not choose sides in it. You had my vote in the last election, and you had my respect…right up until I read this editorial. Stop fanning the flames and be a leader. This City really needs one right now.

  11. GardnerPride says:

    You may be correct Jared, but one might also consider the ability to be confrontational without raising your voice. Both can be equally powerful/disruptive.

  12. @IS the problem says:

    Are you guy that blames the rape victim too? Your attitude toward this is pathetic. Pugh really crossed the line on this and there is no way you can put his behavior in a positive light.

  13. Jared Taylor says:

    I don’t want to come off as a Fotovich apologist but I do think there is a big difference. From what I’ve witnessed, Larry has been annoying in his dedication to his ideology but has yet to exhibit what I’ve seen from Dave Drovetta, and now Dennis Pugh.

    Larry has been absurdly disrespectful but in my opinion only Drovetta and Pugh (I hate adding him here because I believe him to be sincere) have exhibited intimidation. This is completely unbecoming of an elected official. Anyone remember the June 20th meeting. Drovetta rising up putting his finger in Fotovich’s chest? This is now a series of actions and verbal assaults that has culminated to now a physical confrontation. It doesn’t help the matter when Mayor Drovetta taunts an elected official.

    I think the three of them should resign effective today. Save some face, a little honor and let us go about restoring the reputation of our City.

  14. Jared Taylor says:

    There is an un-official petition for Dave Drovetta, Dennis Pugh and Larry Fotovich to resign. Pass it along.

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/gardnerkansas/

  15. Who’s condoning Pugh’s actions? Although we only know what little bit Gardner News decided to post (as opposed to the WHOLE story), it sounds like Pugh was out of control.

    But painting Fotovich as a rape victim? I don’t think Pugh was THAT close to the guy. Why are YOU so willing to ignore Fotovich’s role in this? It’s one thing to get mugged on the street by a complete thug. It’s another to get into an argument in a bar (or evidently, a Council meeting) that escalates into pure, stupid ugliness. If you’re unwilling to concede even a little bit that Fotovich was and is an active and antagonistic participant in his personal vendetta against Drovetta and anyone/anything Drovetta supports, and that Fotovich’s confrontational behavior had no part in all this stupid mess, you’ve pretty much identified yourself as lacking the objectivity to look at the entire picture of what is, and has been, going on in Gardner.

  16. Gosh Jared says:

    it must be awkward for you to call for Pugh’s resignation considering you accepted a $2,000 donation from him for your recall campaign. In fairness though, you probably didn’t know he had violent tendencies at the time.

  17. Judith Rogers says:

    Jared must really want one of the slots……………just what we don’t need considering his past behavior………..the arrogance and egos never stop in this town…………..Jared is another one who doesn’t respect the law or ethics and integrity along with his Beasley brother Ryan and both of them didn’t want to follow the campaign finance laws and still haven’t followed them in my opinion with their “anonymous” donors…………..the Dist. Attorney could have a full time job just here in Gardner chasing all of the crap that goes on within our city government and the players involved in it……………..Morrow did the right thing and he is on the front line and knows what needs to happen……..

  18. this again?... says:

    Fotovich for president!!!!!!!!

  19. Jared Taylor says:

    @Gosh, why would it be awkward? 1. he gave it to the recall effort not me, 2. I’m not, nor was the Recall effort, in any way representing Pugh or any known platform of his. So again I ask, why would it be awkward?

  20. @Steve Hale says:

    Man up, Steve, and stop using a phony name on here.

  21. Gardner Neighbor says:

    Incredible. A council member makes a violent threat AT an open meeting with multiple witnesses, THEN shows up at a fellow council members home and tackles him…and people are saying Fotovich somehow provoked or deserved it? Are you people out of your mind?

    From what I understand, Fotovich’s platform in running for office was to oppose the status quo and try to bring about change. If he just goes along with everything Drovetta wants, wouldn’t he be dishonoring the promises he made to voters? Look, that is the whole problem (and BEAUTY) r.e. partisan politics. Each side is going to bash heads…government moves slow…and all of that discussion, debate, heck – ever arguing – is a good thing. It means we live in a democracy where EVERYONE has a voice. It means that there are no dictators. It is frustrating as He&% when your side isn’t winning, when your side comes out with not enough votes, etc…but it is why we are all so damn proud to live in this country.

    I’ve read comments about people attacking Mr. Fotovich for rolling his eyes or being “antagonistic.” Really? Aren’t we dealing with adults…people who ran for office and should have a little thicker skin? If Mr. Fotovich wants to ask questions – that is his right. No, wait. That is his DUTY. I would like to think that my city council has a variety of different viewpoints. I hope they question each other and their staff. Sitting back and just signing off on “whatever” serves no purpose to better a municipality.

    However – retaliation against Mr. Fotovich is unacceptable. The whole city of Gardner should demand for the resignation of Mr. Pugh immediately. He crossed a line. Not a vague line either. He crossed a very firm, LEGAL line. I don’t care which side of the party line you sit – the law is firm and it is clear. Arguing that Mr. Fotovich “provoked” the behavior by Mr. Pugh is absurd and will never hold up in court.

  22. Why was Pugh not arrested? The man admits to tackling another person in front of their own house following a physical threat, the police show up and they just let him go? Whats up Gardner PD?

  23. Fotovich would have to press charges for Pugh to have been arrested.

  24. @Fotovitch IS the problem says:

    The reason all was good in Mayberry before is because we had a council that voted in lock-step with the mayor. Look back at council votes from the last four or five years and see how many are unanimous. The mayor has authority issues and doesn’t like to be questioned – and thus does not like Mr. Fotovitch for asking them.

    It might be annoying that Mr. Fotovitch asks questions, but isn’t that what he was elected to do? I would prefer someone have an understanding of an issue before blindly casting a vote just to win favor with the mayor – if asking questions helps Mr. Fotovitch to better understand an issue I support him.

  25. It's a good thing... says:

    Dennis Pugh didn’t threaten Larry Fotovitch that he would drag him into the back room, bend him over a table and make a man out of him because apparently Dennis Pugh is the kind of guy who makes good on his word.

  26. John Shepherd used to ask tough questions and nobody felt inspired to violence with him. Don’t try to portray what Fotovich is doing as “asking tough questions”. There’s a difference between asking tough questions and obstructing for the sake of obstructing…for the sake of carrying out some pathetic power-trip vendetta. Fotovich could ask tough questions and cast his “no” votes without antagonizing his peers on the Council, the staff, the employees of the city, and thumbing his nose at the citizens of Gardner. Why he doesn’t is, or should be, the question.

  27. John Shepherd was recalled by some of the very people posting on this site (with Dave Drovetta and Dennis Pugh’s help, of course).

  28. Time to press charges says:

    Larry. Enough is enough. Nobody deserves to be physically assaulted. Pugh needs to be held responsible.

  29. Joe Pa anyone? says:

    The people on here willing to look the other way at what Dennis Pugh did are almost as bad as Joe Paterno. At least there were no children involved. The stunning lack of judgment and violence Pugh displayed makes me frightened for the people who attend future council meetings. Who is to say that next time he doesn’t bring a gun and start shooting. Will you people think it’s OK, because Larry Fotovich “provoked” him?
    Is that the kind of thing you’re teaching your children? That makes me frightened for Gardner’s future.

  30. Hmm…seems like the voters actually recalled John Shepherd, not Dave Drovetta or Dennis Pugh.

    But don’t change the subject. Nobody even considered recalling John Shepherd before he allowed himself to get involved in the self-same Take Back Gardner group that gave us Larry Fotovich. Shepherd spent YEARS on the Council, asking tough questions. His voice carried weight on the Council, even when he was outnumbered in votes.

    Fotovich is no John Shepherd. He doesn’t ask tough questions, only self-serving ones

  31. Concerned Citizen says:

    I wish the city council would get it together. We need them to look at ways to not raise taxes, keep up good schools, put in better traffic lights where needed, and update the animal control ordinance. What happened to updating the animal control ordinance? I’ve seen nothing yet other then the city continuing to allow pit bulls.

  32. STOP…. EVERYBODY just STOP.. Only two people know the facts.. the rest is just rumor..
    I am not willing to convict anyone on rumor.. unless you saw what happened.. just STOP it.
    enough is enough,,
    Morrow.. I am discussed at you, in your position as an elected official, you should hold yourself to higher standards, we expect it from you. Calling for anyone to step down is not your job. You don’t know what happened any more than anyone else does. Grow up, stop trying to impress up with that “better that thou” crap.
    You have just lost my vote ……………… & my respect.

  33. GardnerPride says:

    In fact, we do have a pretty good account of what happened, both from witnesses in the council meeting, then by Pugh’s own comments on what happened at Fotovich’s house. In this case, there’s a lot less rumor than their is fact, which is very odd for this little town.

  34. You are correct says:

    Gardner Pride. The facts are coming out. Mr. Pugh threatened Mr. Fotovich at the meeting and then tried to follow up on that threat. The DA’s office has the case and will decide from the info whether to press a charge or not.

  35. Oh, please... says:

    The “threat”, if that’s what it was, was for the back room, not the sidewalk in front of the house. The physical altercation might or might not be explained by Pugh’s concern that Fotovich might’ve had something more deadly than a camcorder in his pocket. Even with the details we have on all this, it still comes down to what “Stop it” says…the only guys who really know about the confrontation that continued beyond City Hall were the guys who were there. It even sounds like Fotovich didn’t have his camcorder running until afterwards.

    Pugh’s still an idiot for saying and doing what he did. And he quite likely WILL face charges for his part in it all. But every time you people use words like “threat!!!” and “facts coming out”, you blur an already messy picture all the more.

    Wait and find out what comes of it all, can you, before you go running for pitchforks and rope?

  36. Pay per View says:

    Anyone know the Over/Under on this….20-1 my money is on Pugh. Whats Fotovich weigh 85lbs. Pugh like 210. Plus Pugh has arm span…whats Larry got …..Big nose….one swing to that thing and he’s done. Plus don’t they live in the same neighborhood? We could make it a block party and the ticket sells could go to “make a wish” foundation cause Larry is going to need a “wish” if he thinks this whole thing about him being on council is any help to him running for Mayor

  37. @ Stop it

    According to Pugh’s own statements to the Edge, he did assualt Larry Fotovich on his own property. So it looks like we do have all the facts. Even if Fotovich did have a gun it turns out that is his second amendment right and Pugh had no right to be on his property. So quite frankly even if Fotovich did pull out a gun to convince Pugh to leave, he would have been within his rights because he was being threatened with physical harm. Pugh is 100% in the wrong here, no question about it. Him being at Fotovich’s house is enough proof of that. Of course I don’t know why I’m even arguing with you since you are ‘discussed’ with Morrow instead of ‘disgusted’. Morrow has done nothing wrong here and I think both he and us as the citizens should be calling for someone’s resignation.

    That said, I feel like the person who should resign is Dennis Pugh. I’m no big fan of the TBG crew, but I don’t see anything Fotovich has as being grounds for recall. Despite all the personality flaws he may or may not have depending on your opinion, I have never heard of him doing anything illegal or immoral. What Pugh did was illegal and immoral and someone as childish as him should not be allowed to stay a representative of our city. Will he resign? No, I’m sure he won’t. Should we recall him? Well I certainly think so…

  38. @ Pay per View

    What, you think your moronic comments are funny enough to post on both the Edge and Gardner News? I’m not very amused. How old are you, 12?

    But going off your comment… Exactly what does Pugh prove by beating up Fotovich? Maybe Pugh can go pick on some jr high students next week since he is probably too cowardly to threaten anyone who might have a chance at beating him up. What a joke.

  39. Do we know yet what started this whole thing besides the threat to Mr. Fotovich by Mr. Pugh. Was there something said that caused the outburst, did something happen. Was the Gardner News at the Council Meeting when this took place? Instead of Video Taping city meetings why doesn’t the local news media go to the meetings and inform the public of everything that was covered and what happened with no personal feelings attached to the articles. Why spend money on a video equipment when we can read about the next day, its going to cost money…you can’t expect someone to sit there and tape this thing without getting something out of it can you? Unless the city works something out with the High School like some sort of internship or something like that. As far as this issue goes a public apology by someone needs to be made and these guys have got to figure out how to work things out and discuss matters professionally all personal feelings aside and decide what is best for this community together, they don’t always have to agree on everything all the time, but learn to accept that.

  40. sounds like you all need to visit the local elementary school and have the Kindergarten teachers re-educate you how to get along with others…..my kids are more responsible and mature that the adults running this city….

  41. It looks like Pugh is changing his version of the story in other media outlets. Sure sign of a liar with something to hide. First he admits to tackling Larry, now he says they fell on the ground together scrambling for the camera. Still, why the hell was he trying to steal a camera? What is on that camera that Pugh did not want anyone to see?

  42. Changing his story, or misquoted? says:

    Obviously, Wow, you’ve already convicted him. You believe the first quote because it confirms what you already want to believe about Pugh and you’re happy to call him a liar, even IF the word “tackled” was a misquote. You’ll note that Fotovich didn’t even tell anyone his version of the story until after a lot of time had passed and that he made use of the word “tackled” in his description. D’ya think he’d read about it and worked it into his account of the confrontation?

    We don’t really know what happened, but evidently, that doesn’t stop people from making up stuff from random quotes and incomplete information. Good work, Wow.

  43. I'm on to you says:

    Dennis Pugh’s original quote from blog:
    “he (Fotovich) reached into his pocket and was taking something out and I tackled him.”

    Dennis Pugh’s updated statement from blog:
    “…received the following clarification from Mr. Pugh. Mr. Pugh wrote, “You wrote in your article that I tackled Larry. I did not tackle Larry. We met at the light pole and both went down scrambling for the camera on the ground.””

    So the original quote should have read: he (Fotovitch) reached into his pocket and was taking something out and we met at the light pole and both went down scrambling for the camera on the ground?

    Something smells fishy – is the other reporter so incompetent that he did not receive clarification on the original quote or did Pugh read the original quote, poop himself that he admitted wrongdoing, and call the reporter to come up with something better? In this case I’m guessing that Pugh/Drovetta/et al will, once again, expect Peter Solie to take the fall for their poor behavior – the first time he protected Drovetta/et al it cost him his job and house, what will it cost him this time?

    Finally, if Pugh was going to Fotovitch’s house to make amends, as he claims, would he care if it were on video or not? If he had remained calm and said that he was sorry that video could have been helpful to him, or at the very least never see the light of day. Now he just looks like a rabid animal. If both men went down scrambling for a weapon/phone when Pugh realized it was a phone why wouldn’t he return it to Fotovitch before the police arrived…unless there was something he thought might incriminate him on it? I hope to goodness that Fotovitch actually had some of this recorded.

  44. Fishy? Sure says:

    What actually happened? Your guess is as good as anyone’s…but still a guess.

    Regardless of the quotes, Pugh looks really bad here. My point continues to be that we aren’t really helping anything by making wild speculations with only half the facts.

  45. This town needs an enema says:

    Remember this all came boiling to the surface over recording and or broadcasting the meetings to the public!

    I has been met with opposition for a reason. Now, the cats out of the bag!

    Demand it from the city council to record and webcast the meetings.

    Remember, as voters, this is our city council and not the mayors!

  46. isn’t it? Guess we now know why Dennis Pugh was so against recording meetings. I suppose he didn’t want the camera catching him acting like the Neanderthal that he apparently is. Guess that kind of backfired on him now, didn’t it?

  47. isn’t it? Guess we now know why Dennis Pugh didn’t want the meetings recorded. I suppose he didn’t want the camera catching him acting like the Neanderthal that he is. Guess that kind of backfired on him now didn’t it?

  48. isn’t it? Guess we now know why he didn’t want to record the meetings. I suppose he didn’t want the camera catching him acting like the Neanderthal that he is. Guess that kind of backfired on him didn’t it?

  49. *GardnerPride says:

    Would there be a special election if the Mayor resigned? You seem to know all the inner workings, and I don’t. Or would the council president move into the mayoral position? And if Pugh or Fotovich steps down, who appoints a replacement – the mayor? Seems pretty confusing.

  50. This town needs an enema says:

    Now you shouldn’t cut down the Neanderthals. After all. If it wasn’t for them we would not have stone tools.

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