Pleasanton resident Samual Davis, left, addresses the Pleasanton City Council during Monday's meeting, Aug. 21. Davis challenged the council's decision to ban him for the final four days the city's swimming pool was open this summer. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)
PLEASANTON – With only a few days until the city’s swimming pool closed for the season on Aug. 12, the Pleasanton City Council in a split vote banned a resident for the final four days from entering the pool grounds during its Aug. 7 meeting.
Citing an incident on July 29 in which a city resident allegedly “screamed” at a pool lifeguard while failing to follow the lifeguards orders, the council voted on a 2-1-2 vote to ban Samual Davis for the remainder of the season.
On Monday, Aug. 21, Davis appeared before the council to protest the treatment of his 14-year-old son by a 15-year-old lifeguard, to complain that keeping his son from speaking was a violation of his First Amendment rights, and to push the city into further investigating the incident to determine if the lifeguard violated the city’s policy by not interacting with the public in a courteous manner.
While he was unable to change the outcome of the first two issues, at least for this year, the council did agree to look into the manner in which the lifeguard treated his son.
Davis also took issue with Councilman Jake Mattingley for banning him from the pool property for heresay and for failing to get his side of the story.
It was an unusual split vote in the Aug. 7 meeting, particularly with all council members present. Councilwoman Melanie Staton and Mattingley voted to enact the ban. Rochelle Schreckhise voted against the measure. And Aaron Portman and Kim Herring abstained from voting, citing conflicts of interest.
Portman abstained because his wife is pool manager. Herring said she abstained because she was related to people involved in the matter.
According to Kansas statute guiding the operation of city government, abstentions go with the majority vote – in this case with Staton and Mattingley. It essentially became a 4-1 vote because of that statute.
During council discussion before the vote earlier this month, Schreckhise asked if any of the signs at the pool warned against yelling at the lifeguards, to which the reply was no. She said if the rule wasn’t on the signs, the city couldn’t ban the man for that.
But Mattingley countered that as part of the city’s zero-tolerance policy on rudeness toward city employees, the man should be banned for the last few days.
At the meeting on Monday, Aug. 21, Davis pointed out that there was no rule posted on signs about talking. He added that the lifeguard was screaming at his son, violating the city’s policy of making the request in a courteous manner.
Davis, who is seeking a seat on the Pleasanton USD 344 school board in the November election, said last year his son was kicked out of the pool once or twice a week, and he finally stopped going. This summer has not been as bad, he added.
Staton asked Davis what he wanted.
“I’m asking you to hold your employees accountable for their actions,” Davis replied.
Mayor Mike Frisbie pointed out that residents come into City Hall and scream at city staff about problems they are having. Last year, the city adopted a no-tolerance policy because of that.
“The council will always defend the employee,” he said.
City Attorney Burton Harding recommended that the swimming pool manager and city Administrator Becky Hegwald talk to pool personnel about the incident. He warned Davis that he might not like the results of the investigation.
In other business, the council:
• Voted to contract with Wichita-based Ranson Financial Group to upgrade the city’s code book for $4,250 and then update it annually for $1,350 a year. The action came after Harding made the suggestion that the company was experienced in updating code books and making them available online. The company is currently working on Mound City’s codes.
• Briefly discussed whether to develop codes on use of golf carts within city limits and whether to license electricians and conduct inspections. The council took no action on those items.