‘It’s time for us to stick up for our residents’: Four aldermen behind decision to ask for Monday’s no confidence vote in Troup

Four aldermen no confidence

From left, Richie Reis (D-6), Mike Farha (R-4), Greg Fletcher (R-1) and Jeff Bergman (R-2).

QUINCY — Both Greg Fletcher and Richie Reis know Monday’s vote regarding their confidence in Mike Troup as the mayor of Quincy is only symbolic. Regardless of the vote totals, Troup will still be the mayor at end of Monday’s meeting of the Quincy City Council.

However, both aldermen believe their vote signifies something else.

“We can’t get rid of him, we didn’t hire him, and we can’t fire him,” said Fletcher, a Republican alderman in the 1st Ward. “But what we can do is shame him with this vote of no confidence to make a statement to the public that, hey, we don’t subscribe to his behavior. We’re not going to tolerate it as far as being part of it.”

“More than anything, I just hope it opens his eyes to be more transparent, to communicate with us more,” said Reis, a Democratic alderman in the 6th Ward. “It’s been told to him over and over, but it just seems like it’s fallen on deaf ears.”

The 14-member City Council will vote during Monday’s 7 p.m. meeting after first dealing with township business, a public forum and the reading of eight resolutions. Republicans have a 10-4 advantage on the City Council. Troup, a Republican, is in the third year of his first term as mayor.

Nick Eddy and Robert Megee, the past and current presidents of the Quincy Police Benevolent and Protective Association Labor Unit 12, asked the City Council during its July 3 meeting to take a vote on their confidence in the administration. Their dissatisfaction with Troup stems primarily from the lack of a contract with the Quincy Police Department and problems with city employee health insurance. 

After the officers’ request, the council voted to receive and file their comments but took no action. Mike Farha (R-4) called the filing of the comments “a vote of cowardice.” He asked why none of his colleagues made a motion to take action, although he didn’t call for a vote either. 

Farha, Fletcher, Reis and Jeff Bergman (R-2) asked Thursday to put the vote on Monday’s agenda, which was made public Friday afternoon.

“The way I understand it, either Farha or Bergman went to put this on the agenda,” Reis said. “They were told by Laura (Oakman, the city clerk) you must have at least three put it on the agenda. 

“This no confidence thing has been floating around for a long time in the general public and in the aldermen setting. So Bergman said, ‘Hey, we need three people to put this on the agenda. Will you do it?’ And I said yeah. This is something we need to get on the agenda and get behind us.”

An attempt to reach Bergman for comment was unsuccessful.

The Police Benevolent and Protective Association Labor Unit 12 represents Quincy police officers and supervisors who have worked without a contract since April 2021. The group and the city participated in an arbitration hearing about the contract in May. The arbitration judge will issue a decision by Aug. 31.

The PB&PA Unit No. 12 also has filed two unfair labor practice lawsuits against the city for failing to provide health insurance or vision coverage to all police officers. Those suits will be heard by an arbitrator in October.

Farha said during the June 18 City Council meeting that by the time the arbitration judge issues a ruling, the police department will have worked without a contract for 2½ years. 

“We’ve known this (no confidence) process has been available to us, but we didn’t want to arbitrarily just throw it out there because we’re ticked off at the mayor, which is more often than not,” Fletcher said. “With the process going on with this police union thing, and mainly the insurance now, it’s just apparent that (Troup) ain’t getting it. So when the police union reps did their thing last Monday night, I decided it’s time for us to make our move.”

Fletcher said a vote was not taken at the July 3 meeting because a proposed vote wasn’t on the agenda. Therefore, the aldermen couldn’t vote.

“I decided after that meeting that it’s time for us to stick up for our residents,” Fletcher said. “That’s what we were hired to do, to be a voice for our residents and our ward, and for them to know that their representatives stick up for them, defend them and honor them.”

Farha said before an April 26 special budget meeting he regretted voting for Troup as mayor in the April 2021 general election. He called for Troup to resign immediately.

“The public has got to make this decision,” he said at the time. “I’m telling you, they’re fed up. They’re not happy about what’s going on. This isn’t working. I’ve never seen a mayor have less support amongst the public.

“I don’t think he’s a bad person. Personally, I like him. I just … I can’t take his leadership. His leadership is tyrannical, and he doesn’t even realize it. I’d like to see him leave. I really would.”

Fletcher agrees with the idea of Troup stepping down.

“It’s time for him to go, but I’m not going to sit here and say I’d like to see him resign,” he said. “That’s for him to decide. But if I was in his shoes and I had this coming up against me, I would graciously walk away. 

“I don’t know what I want him to do. Well, I want him to change his ways. But after two years, I don’t see that happening. In a year and three quarters, we will elect another mayor, and I’m pretty confident it won’t be this one. Our choices are he’ll resign, he’ll straighten up or he won’t do nothing and keep going on like he is.”

Fletcher says he constantly receives texts and emails from constituents expressing their frustration about how Troup handled the negotiation of police contract, the city’s issues with Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, the investigation that Troup called for about the hiring of Adam Yates as chief of the Quincy Police Department and his decision not to retain two members of the Fire and Police Commission.

“They say, ‘What are you going to do with that mayor? It’s time to get rid of him,’” he said. “Well, most people don’t understand the due process of law, but this is a non-binding vote. Nothing can be done with it other than just saying to the public, ‘This alderman and that alderman is with us.’ The people will know, and it should send a signal to the administration that we’re done playing games.

“We’ve been fighting this mayor for two years. It’s just one thing after another after another. Most times, we just shake our head and say, ‘Whatever.’ But it’s getting to the point now where this insurance thing is ridiculous.”

Reis says the communication with Troup is a problem.

“We can’t call him and ask him a question,” he said. “He just needs to be open with us. He says, ‘Well, you can call me too.’ Well, if we don’t know what the hell’s going on, then how are we going to call him and ask him about a subject that’s going on? The only thing I’ve ever said to him is on the council floor. The police union contract needs to be nipped. It needs to be over. These guys don’t deserve it. I’ve also said that about the health insurance. Get this problem fixed.”

Reis and Patty Maples, who was a Democratic alderperson in the 6th Ward, were among seven aldermen at the April 24 Quincy City Council meeting who voted not to approve a $50.29 million budget Troup created for the 2024 fiscal year. However, at a special meeting on April 27, with the budget the only item on the agenda, Reis and Maples flipped their votes. The budget passed by an 8-5 vote.

Despite other frustrations with Troup, Reis still believes he made the right decision that night. 

“I don’t really think (Troup) gives me the time of day, because I don’t vote with him all the time,” he said. “It just frustrates me. I didn’t run for city council to be a rubber stamp. If I believe in something, I’ll support it. If I don’t, I won’t.”

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