Lawton City Council member escorted out following heated argument

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Arguing and yelling at Tuesday night's Lawton City Council meeting, which lead to one of the members being escorted from the council chambers by police. Councilman Dwight Tanner was discussing item 6 on the city's agenda, made a motion to approve it and then added to that motion something that stunned the room.

He wanted the council to vote on terminating City Manager Jerry Ihler.

"He's not holding, in my opinion, the city staff beneath him who are responsible for making these mistakes," Tanner said.

The agenda item was about reimbursing the city over $130,000 in fees they used to defend themselves before the Securities and Exchange Commission. The city was not held responsible for the financial advisor and bond firms they hired in relation to financial disclosure responsibilities.

Councilman Caleb Davis second the motion, sharing Tanner's beliefs that Ihler was not able to hold staff accountable.

"I did mention this to Mr. Ihler about a month of two ago," Davis said.

Then the discussion started to get heated.

Councilman Jay Burk and Mayor Fred Fitch asked the council not to fire Ihler.

Mayor Fitch started to speak about Councilman Davis' performance while on council.

"I'm thoroughly disgusted with you!" Mayor Fitch said to Councilman Davis. "You've done nothing but wreak havoc on this council and cost this city money since you've been here!"

Councilman Sean Fortenbaugh made a substitute motion to approve item 6, and discuss Ihler's employment in the next meeting's executive session.

The pot boiled over when Tanner made his last remarks.

"If we were younger, if we were eyeball-to-eyeball, it's be a different situation my friend," Tanner said to Mayor Fitch.

The Mayor responded: "Chief Smith, if you'd have somebody remove Mr. Tanner from the council."

"It wouldn't be the first," Tanner said before getting up from his seat.

Before leaving Tanner said the city is spending money like it's monopoly money, and walked out.

Following Tanner's leaving, the council voted to approve the city's start on a master sidewalk plan, and tabled the rest of the items until the next city council meeting in March.

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