UPDATE: Bruce Tyler responds to the mayor in a letter obtained by Style Weekly. Sent January 30, Tyler calls for an investigation into the Department of Social Services’ handling of the payments to child care centers. Also, he does not apologize. Full text of the letter below:
“I am in receipt of your letter dated January 27, 2012 regarding the January 17th Health, Human Services and Education committee meeting. At this time, it is premature to take the actions you have suggested. Instead, a thorough investigation of the issues with the way Department of Social Services conducted themselves with this childcare center is the next logical step.
“Once this issue has been properly reviewed, I will meet with you to discuss this matter. While I understand your concern for your staff’s wellbeing, I believe the same concern should have been expressed for the children that have been allegedly damaged by the mishandling of issues by your staff.”
Mayor Dwight Jones isn’t all deliberateness and cool detachment. A week after City Councilman Bruce Tyler accused a ranking city official of lying, Jones fired off a letter to Tyler demanding a public apology.
“If one of our City employees made such a derogatory comment to another employee, they would receive a written reprimand (at a minimum), and may receive a week’s suspension,” Jones writes. “While I cannot impose personnel sanctions on a member of the City Council, I would strongly suggest that a public apology from you to the employee is in order.”
The letter, obtained by Style Weekly on Friday, was Jones’ response to a verbal tiff between Tyler and Doris Moseley, director of the city’s Department of Social Services.
Two weeks ago during a council committee meeting, Tyler questioned the city’s handling of a program that funnels payments from the state to local day-care organizations that provide services to needy children. Payments from the city have been delayed, Tyler and others complained.
When Moseley stepped up to refute those claims, Tyler accused the department of not processing the payments in a timely manner, and thereby jeopardizing child-service providers.
“I want to tell you unequivocally, I believe you stood up here and lied,” Tyler told her.
Tyler isn’t backing down. Having received the letter, he calls the mayor’s comments “premature.”
“For someone to make statements about my conduct as opposed to not looking at the total picture of how children of the city are not getting their due is just shortsighted,” Tyler says.
Jones and Tyler have had dust-ups before. Perhaps the mayor’s staunchest critic on council, Tyler remarked in April 2010 that the mayor needed to be “slapped” and attempted to cut funding for his security detail.
So what now for Tyler?
“I’m going to do what I planned on and get to the bottom of this,” he says. “Because we’re talking about protecting the most fragile members of my community. … And I have no trouble using everything in my arsenal to get people’s attention on that.”