Reis, Maples change votes, allowing $50 million city budget to pass in five-minute meeting
QUINCY — Two flipped votes turned a potentially contentious debate over the city’s budget into much ado about nothing.
Richie Reis and Patty Maples, Democratic aldermen in Quincy’s 6th Ward, were among seven aldermen at Monday night’s Quincy City Council meeting who voted not to approve a $50.29 million budget for the 2024 fiscal year. However, at a special meeting on Thursday with the budget the only item on the agenda, they voted in favor of passing the budget.
The meeting lasted five minutes, and all but 90 seconds were devoted to the Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer by Rev. Carl Terry of Bethel AME Church and the roll call taken by City Clerk Laura Oakman. The measure passed 8-5, with Greg Fletcher (R-1), Jeff Bergman (R-2), Mike Farha (R-4), Tony Sassen (R-4) and Mike Rein (R-5) voting no. Dave Bauer (D-2) was absent, as he was on Monday.
Maples, who will attend her last City Council meeting on Monday, lost to Republican Jake Reed in her bid to retain her 6th Ward seat in the April election. She said after the vote she had heard complaints that the reason Thursday night’s special meeting was called because she voted no on Monday.
“It was my name thrown under the bus,” she said. “I’m just kind of fed up with the whole Mickey Mouse show.”
Asked why she changed her vote, Maples replied, “It had nothing to do against the department heads. There are still a few things out there that you don’t know what the costs are going to be. It is what it is. I volunteered to step in last year, because I worked for the city. I retired from the city. It’s very important to me.”
Maples said she wasn’t going to “name names” when asked who she believed threw her name under the bus.
“I heard it from several people,” she said.
Reis was unavailable for comment immediately after the meeting. Attempts to reach him at home Thursday night were unsuccessful.
Farha, who on Wednesday called Mayor Mike Troup “tyrannical” and said the “best thing for our community” is for him to resign immediately, declined to be interviewed after the meeting.
Rein said he was disappointed but not surprised.
“I’m disappointed because the mayor had to work on those two people,” he said. “That’s why I wasn’t surprised.”
As he walked out of City Hall, Rein added with a smile, “Isn’t that the weakest link, I guess? The TV show or whatever?”
Troup said he had one-on-one conversations with seven of the 14 aldermen since Monday’s City Council meeting. He did not specify who he spoke with.
“All of (them) were great,” he said. “They expressed what was troubling them, bothering them. I could ask, ‘Hey, how can I make this better? What can we do to improve this?’ Most of them were like, ‘Look, we aren’t going to agree on everything, but we’re going to work to make Quincy better.’ That’s all I can ask for.”
He said he spoke with aldermen on both sides of the issue.
“The ones who voted yes last Monday, they’re happy with where we’re going and the direction we’re moving toward,” Troup said. “The ones who voted no Monday, we had a few of them change their position to vote yes. The concern from the people who I guess have been frustrated is the communications.
“I tried to point out the communications as two-way. I don’t read minds. If you have a question, you need to ask me. You still may not like my answer, but at least ask the question. If we need to sit down and have a more detailed (meeting), let’s do it. … Until this week, I’ve never been told it’s my way or the highway. … I’m sorry people felt that way.”
Troup said he was hoping to get Reis’ and Maples’ votes, but he wasn’t expecting them.
“They both worked for the city years ago, and I think they really understand the process,” he said. “I’m pleased they voted yes.”
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