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Tempe council reprimands member who called resident a "psycho"

Posted at 2:18 PM, Jul 28, 2017

The Tempe City Council is demanding a member submit a formal letter of apology after calling a Tempe resident a "psycho" and a "stalker." 

In April, Kolby Granville took to social media to make the remarks. 

Granville is speaking out for the first time about the incidents, saying he wanted to wait to talk about it until after the council had voted on the matter.

RELATED: Tempe councilman's naughty behavior costing taxpayers $18,000

The city submitted a formal letter to serve as a written reprimand concerning Granville's behavior. In it, they say his social media posts were "denigrating a member of the public" adding that it was "indisputable" that he "treated a member of the public in a disrespectful and undignified manner." 

Granville says he's not sorry for what he said but did apologize for the amount of money this was costing city taxpayers.

Redacted invoices ABC15 has obtained from city staff showed the total legal bills the city shelled out to get an outside lawyer's opinion before issuing this reprimand has added up to $20,462 dollars.

Granville said since the incident involved a city attorney, they felt they had a look outside for legal advice. Granville questioned why they didn't talk to human resources about it. 

"One hundred percent, I think it was absolutely a waste of money," Granville said. "That same night t the meeting we didn't fund all of the neighborhood grants because we didn't have enough money."

Four of the council members voted in favor of giving Granville a letter of reprimand, for an incident stemming from six months ago.Granville said he did not realize the attorney took it very personally.

"Mostly I regret that I misread the level of sensitivity to language that I had," he added.

Granville said he at a sub-committee meeting talking about a zoning project when a city attorney advised him what he was doing was against state law. Granville said he questioned her legal opinion but was told it was common knowledge. 

"I think I swore at the quality of her work," Granville said. "I said if you give me a s****y legal opinion you should at least put it in writing." 

According to the official letter of reprimand, city officials stated the city attorney felt humiliated and felt her reputation had been damaged in front of others. She also indicated she feared for her job.

Less than two hours later, Granville said he edited the comment and took out the words "psycho" and "stalker" after a friend advised him that the word might insult the mental health community.

At a city council meeting on Thursday night, four council members voted in favor of reprimanding Granville for the incidents.

"I think it's just really important that we continue to treat each other very respectfully," said councilwoman Robin Arrendondo-Savage right before voting in favor of the reprimand.

Councilman David Schapira was one of two who voted no.

"Spending tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money on something like this is ridiculous," said Schapira before casting his vote.

Councilwoman Lauren Kuby added that she worried about further legal repercussions the city could face if they voted in favor of this.

"I'd like to mention briefly that is the issue of  the First Amendment. I think we're kind of heading down a slippery slope here," said Kuby.

Granville said he felt singled out for something he felt all of them were guilty of.

"I have listened, I have listened to every Council member swear. I have seen every council member's Facebook feed.  You should see what some of them who are against Donald Trump have been writing.  That might offend someone too," said Granville.

Granville said he felt this letter of reprimand was nothing more than a "petty political ploy" for council members to create something negative they could put on mailers, when he came up for re-election.

The letter asks a formal letter of apology is submitted and also included in Granville's public record. 

RELATED: Tempe City Council member under fire for offending constituent, swearing at assistant city attorney

Read the full letter below: 

"Dear Councilmember Granville:

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with a written reprimand concerning your conduct on April 7, 2017. The City Council has concluded that your conduct on April 7, 2017, in creating social media postings referring to a Tempe resident as a "psycho" and a "stalker" violated Resolution No. 2009.126 and certain provisions of the City's Personnel Rules and Regulations and Ethics in Our Workplace handbook ("Ethics Handbook"), as those documents are incorporated into Resolution No. 2009.126.

Resolution No. 2009.126 provides, expressly, that "[t]he members of the Tempe City Council desire to conduct their business in a manner that is legally and ethically beyond reproach." This Resolution incorporates Section 406B.3 of the Tempe Personnel Rules and Regulations, which prohibits abusive attitude, language, behavior or conduct toward the public. Subsection 9 of Section 406B bars conduct that "is of such a nature that it causes discredit to the City." Page 5 of the City's Ethics Handbook contains the heading "Ethics in Our Workplace Means…." On the following page, it provides that this requirement includes "essential decency in our dealings with peers, bosses and subordinates and all those outside the City with whom we come in contact."

Your creation of social media postings denigrating a member of the public violated the abovecited provisions of Resolution No. 2009.126, with particular reference to Section 406B.3 and 9 of the City of Tempe Personnel Rules and Regulations and the above-referenced provision of the City's Ethics Handbook. It is undisputable that you treated a member of the public in a disrespectful and undignified manner.

For the above reasons, your colleagues on the City Council have determined that your conduct warrants this written reprimand. In addition, we ask that you submit a formal letter of apology to the member of the public you disparaged and include that letter in the public record.

In 2009, Tempe City Council voted to apply the same moral and ethical standards of behavior we expect from our employees to the Councilmembers themselves. Moving forward, we expect that you treat members of the public with respect and professionalism.

For the above reasons, the Members of the City Council have determined that your conduct warrants a written reprimand, as stated herein. "