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City to air July 11 BOMA meeting unedited

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Jamie Clary

A contentious board meeting that drew heated comments from a handful of citizens and aldermen will air on the city's local cable access channel, city leaders decided on Tuesday.

At issue was whether or not to air the July 11 meeting in its entirety after a handful of citizens expressed both concern and support of Ward 3 Alderman Angie Hedberg following news of a May DUI arrest. One alderman can also be heard referring to Hedberg as "drunk" during one of the citizen's comments.

Citizens are allowed to address the city's Board of Mayor and Aldermen during the public comments portion of the meeting provided comments address issues and not individuals. Personal attacks are not allowed, according to the city's municipal code outlining the guidelines for public comments.

Mayor Jamie Clary reminded citizens of the guidelines several times on July 11 and cut short two speakers who asked that Hedberg resign. Clary asked the citizens to either address board members individually or bring their concerns to the city's General Committee.

During his comments, resident Chris Spencer called out by name a Hendersonville Standard reporter for reporting "semi-fake" news regarding Hedberg's arrest. He also named a former alderman who was defeated by Hedberg in November in response to a Facebook post by Alderman Darrell Woodcock who said that Hedberg owed the alderman an apology. Clary reminded Spencer of the rules, but allowed him to continue.

Following the meeting, Clary said he was reviewing it to make sure no libel or slander laws were broken. He also asked citizens for their input on his personal Facebook page about whether or not to air the meeting. Although it has done so for several years, the city is not required to air the meetings. City policy does prohibit editing them, however.

At the July 25 BOMA meeting, board members voted to send the issue of whether or not to air the meeting to the General Committee. Clary also asked the committee to review the city's Programming Policy and Procedures for Cable Channel 3. In the meantime, the meeting has not aired on Channel 3, but has been available on YouTube.

Just before the BOMA meeting on Tuesday, the General Committee voted to recommend airing the July 11 meeting in its entirety immediately following the airing of the Aug. 8 BOMA meeting.

"It's just a Pandora's box," said Ward 4 Alderman Andy Gilley regarding deciding what will and won't air on the public access channel. "I would recommend we stick with what we have."

The committee also voted to keep the current policy without any changes.

Board members accepted the committee's recommendation and voted unanimously to air the July 11 meeting in its entirety.

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