Atlantic Beach mayor locked out of community center

The infighting continued in Atlantic Beach Tuesday night.

The town's mayor, Retha Pierce, had called an emergency meeting 24 hours prior and when they showed up they were locked out of the town's community center where the meeting was set to be held.

Also on the door was a note saying the meeting was canceled due to no quorum. Newschannel 15 received a fax just after 4:00 p.m. with the same message. Pierce says she has also been locked out of her office at town hall.

"I can't get into my office because I never got a key," she said.

Pierce surrounded by Councilman Jake Evans and a handful of citizens says the emergency is because Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn Cole is the only one with the power to write checks on the town's behalf.

"As mayor of this town, I considered our inability to move forward and the fact that we have a situation of violating our own law, we're violating our own law as long as we have one person signing the check, I deemed that as mayor of this town an emergency," Pierce said.

"No checks are leaving the town hall with just Carolyn Cole's signature," Evans said. "We have a mayor pro tem who wants to be the mayor. So when the mayor calls a meeting of course she's not going to come."

We spoke to Cole and Councilman Windy Price who make up the other half of town council. Both said they were never notified of the emergency meeting until others in the community saw a post on town hall and called them.

"I was wondering what constitutes as an emergency? Why wasn't I contacted?" Price said.

Infighting and financial problems are nothing new in Atlantic Beach, a finance meeting held on March 16th turned into a screaming match between Evans and Cole.

The 4 block town also sat covered in trash for two weeks in March because the town owed more than 5 thousand dollars to the company that removes it.

Rosa Stanley was one of the people stuck outside the community center Tuesday. She said that she's lived in the town for more than 50 years, and that while these problems have become the normal thing in the town, she's sick of it.

"I am tired of it, I mean very tired, I mean very tired. If I have ever been tired one time of my life this is it," she said.

The next town council meeting is Monday, April 2nd.