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Confrontation erupts in Palmer

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Mark Varsel
The Ellis County Press
PALMER - Former council member Roy Bobo had been recording Palmer City Council meetings since he was unseated in the last election. Quietly, he has sat in the back of chambers and adjusted his camera to capture all of the proceedings.
Until the last meeting of city council, no one had expressed any open opposition to his actions, but Palmer resident Susan Bickell addressed council under the citizen forum item on the latest agenda.
She expressed outrage at the manner in which Bobo was 'showing only parts of the meeting to stir up political upheaval.'
According to Bickell, Bobo distributed selected excerpts from a previous council meeting that tended to indicate inaction on the part of city government in dealing with local water quality issues.
In further viewing, Bickell said she was able to determine the city public works department did have a comprehensive plan to address water concerns raised by citizens.
Public Works Director Charles Slovak emphasized the city was actively replacing water lines in areas where water quality was being impacted by mineral deposits, rust and scaling in aging distribution lines.
Bickell also chastised Councilman Mike Green-lee for referring to Mayor Don Huskins as 'Boss Hogg' during a previous council meeting, 'likening' him to the character on the 'Dukes of Hazzard' television series.
At the time, she said Greenlee was insinuating Huskins had overreaching authority over the police department, an allegation Huskins strongly disputes.
Referencing her prepared statement Bickell said, 'You come live in our homes and drink the rusty water and bathe in it. You come wash your clothes and dishes in our rusty water.
'When your loved ones are helpless and unable to understand … have rashes and sores on them ... then see if you want to make jokes and call the Mayor Boss Hogg and film videos and give out just portions of it to stir up politics. We need to have decent water in our homes as taxpaying citizens of this community as soon as possible. We have been in this battle way to long. We do not need these childish, immature political games from our elected officials.'
Bobo refuted Bickell's claims and said he filmed the entire proceeding and a complete video of the entire meeting was available.
Expressing dismay at Bobo's statement and satisfied that she had said her piece, Bickell remained unconvinced.
Council members Jeff Vick and Joice Price assured Bickell they took her concerns very seriously and the problems with 'brown water' would be addressed in all parts of the city affected.

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