Atlantic Beach town council meeting descends into chaos

At a town council meeting in Atlantic Beach Tuesday night, several things were accomplished, but none of them were on the agenda.

Several times during the meeting, council members were talking over each other to the point that the recorder taking the minutes said the minutes wouldn't be accurate because of all the screaming.

At some points in the meeting, those in the audience were laughing and jeering the council members.

The biggest item on the agenda was a hearing regarding their now former interim town manager Calvin Blanton.

Blanton was at Tuesday night's meeting for the first time in months.

The hearing did not take place, and Mayor Retha Pierce would not discuss why the hearing was to be held in the first place. She said they had to forgo the hearing because of a misprint of dates on the agenda of last month's meeting.

Council did vote 3-2 to place Blanton on paid administrative leave. Councilwomen Carolyn Cole and Windy Price voted opposed.

Mayor Pierce showed NewsChannel 15 a letter she wrote to Blanton, explaining the reasons behind his removal.

They are as follows:

1. Signing an agreement resolving outstanding litigation involving the town of and committing the Town to a monthly payment arrangement without authorization from Town Council.

2. Failure to advise the Town Council of the circumstances surrounding the termination of the entire police force.

3. Refusal to comply with instructions to provide information regarding staff hires and monetary expenses.

Council also voted to appoint a new interim town manager, Linda Cheatham. Pierce could not answer as to when they would hire a permanent town manager.

The next Atlantic Beach meeting is on Monday where they will discuss all business-related items. Pierce says they will set a new date for Blanton's hearing then.