Council Members Talk About Shouts Heard At Meeting

A city council meeting ends in with shouting and storming out of City Hall.  At issue, the City Manager's performance and succession plan. In Executive Session last night, Longview city council members were set to discuss the performance and duties of City Manager Rickey Childers, but after half an hour of adjournment, loud yelling was heard from the room.

After which, council member Tommy Finklea continued shouting at Mayor Jay Dean in the parking lot. Our cameras were rolling...what we heard was Finklea yelling, "I won't go your way no more. It's on now." Both parties then got in their cars and drove off.

Fireworks erupted at last night's city council meeting, leaving many to wonder what when on behind close doors to spark such an outburst.

"The bottom line to the whole story is Rickey's actions and Rickey's words, that's where we find ourselves today because of Rickey's actions," says Council Member Tommy Finklea.

But Mayor Jay Dean sees it differently. "There was only one temper that flared and it was his and it was basically after the meeting was concluded, we had stopped our meeting," says the Mayor.

But Council Member Tommy Finklea says that for the past year, City Manager Rickey Childers has made it known he looking for a job elsewhere, that his heart just isn't in Longview anymore. "He's actively seeking other employment and he's made it clear that he does not want to be in Longview anymore so I think at this time, it would just be better for everyone involved for Rickey to leave and go seek employment on his own," says Finklea.

And Finklea writes in a letter he sent to city council, Childers called him a racist and accused him of leaking information about his job hunt to the Longview-News Journal, a phone call Finklea says the Mayor can confirm.

"As far as I'm concerned that is a personal matter between Rickey Childers and Tommy Finklea because it's their names that are being used primarily and I'm not going to comment on he said, you said type things," Mayor Dean says.

But Finklea says that phone call was the last straw for him and now he's calling for Childers to resign.

But Dean says, "Mr. Childers is not resigning, Mr. Childers is not being terminated or rolled out of town.  That is not happening, the council has worked on a succession plan that will be brought to council to take action on."

Mayor dean says last night's executive session has nothing to do with the phone call Finklea brought up in his letter. "That letter has absolutely nothing to do with our Executive Session last night or for that matter the succession plan that we have discussed for Mr. Childers."

The mayor says another Executive Session has been called for September 14 where they will again try to discuss a succession plan for when Childers leaves the city.

We tried several times to contact City Manager Rickey Childers, but he was unavailable for comment.

Tracy Watler/Reporting: