FULTON • A Fulton business owner has submitted a written request for the resignation of a Fulton alderman following a confrontation during a city board meeting.
Charlie Graham, owner of American’s Inn LLC, submitted a letter to the Fulton Board of Aldermen and The Itawamba County Times Friday calling for the resignation of Ward IV Alderman Brad Chatham. In the typed complaint, Graham claims Chatham was “very aggressive” toward him during the city board’s Oct. 2 meeting. He claims the alderman attempted to use his position to intimidate him and threatened him publicly.
Graham said Chatham’s behavior was “totally unbecoming of an elected official.”
Fulton Mayor Barry Childers confirmed to The Times that the city had received a copy of Graham’s letter.
Chatham told The Times as of Friday he knew Graham’s letter had been submitted.
“This incident has been blown out of proportion, and I have no other comment at this time,” Chatham said.
Graham’s call for Chatham’s resignation stems from an appearance by the former at last week’s regular meeting of the city board. Graham appeared before the board to propose a new ordinance that would see residents fined for allowing their dogs and cats to roam free. His three-page proposal, copies of which he submitted to the board, include details regarding fines for violators of the ordinance.
The city currently has laws pertaining to pets, although Graham said he believes the city’s regulations are not being properly enforced.
After the board had the opportunity to read over Graham’s proposal, he told them his reasons for concern.
“We live near the school, and dogs should be on a leash,” he told the board, stating that he frequently finds animals on his property.
Graham said he is having the same problem at his business, American’s Inn, located on Access Road. He said he owns two classic cars and is not able to bring them to his home for fear that wandering cats may damage them.
As Graham was making his recommendation, he received push back from Chatham, who is apparently one of his neighbors. Chatham, speaking from his seat at the front of the board room, said Graham’s call for stricter pet ordinances represented a “personal” issue between himself and his constituent.
Graham did not initially indicate that Chatham was the source of his proposal.
Chatham told Graham and the board that his pets are “kept behind a fence” and had not been a problem in the 18 years he had lived there.
What followed was a contentious back and forth between Graham and Chatham. Graham continued by asking other board members their thoughts on the matter.
Chatham’s fellow aldermen expressed understanding of Graham’s concerns about loose pets. Ward I Alderman Hayward Wilson said the board needed time to review the city’s current laws and consider the changes Graham suggested.
“This is something we need to look at in its entirety,” Wilson said.
The city board is expected to address the call for Chatham’s resignation during their Oct. 15 meeting.