Councilor Goodin’s “outburst” led to the loss of his portfolio indefinitely
BELIZE CITY, Fri. Feb. 22, 2019– Less than two months after taking office at the Belize City Council, Councilor Micah Goodin made public accusations about, and criticisms of, Mayor Bernard Wagner on social media.
Now, less than one year since that initial outburst, Councilor Goodin has again exploded in an uncontrollable outburst at City Hall. This time, City Administrator, Stephanie Lindo-Garbutt, was on the receiving end of Councilor Goodin’s tirade.
Things got so heated that the councilor had to be physically restrained and put out of City Hall. The incident reportedly occurred on Wednesday.
This morning, at a press conference where he was flanked by his remaining councilors, Mayor Bernard Wagner announced that the Council has decided to strip Councilor Goodin of his portfolio. He will, however, continue to receive his councilor salary.
Councilor Goodin, who garnered the second largest number of votes in the March 7 municipal elections, a man who has been known for his trademark brashness, was assigned the portfolio for Staff Development, Training, Youth and Sports.
As was the case with his original outburst last April, this latest episode was also triggered by Councilor Goodin’s attempt to get money released to him against the established council regulations for doing so.
During the incident Wednesday, Councilor Goodin was heard berating City Administrator Lindo-Garbutt in an audio recording which has been made available to sections of the media:
Micah Goodin, City Councilor
“Why you always have to insult my people dem? Why you always have to be disrespectful to my people? Why? Why? I done gone da caucus, I done get this thing approved, and you wah embarrass my people, front-a people. Why, C.A.?”
Stephanie Lindo Garbutt – City Administrator
“Would you like a minute to calm down?”
“No, no, I really want to know why. I feel like you di target me and you di target my people. This is not the first time.”
Stephanie Lindo Garbutt
“Well, councilor, I am very sorry that’s how you feel. I think it’s also fair to say that your people have been very disrespectful to me.”
Micah Goodin, City Councilor:
“C.A., I am the councilor. You have a problem, you can come to me. I took these matters to caucus. That was my idea, my suggestion. I am an elected official. I da noh no lee bwai out ya. And I deserve to be treated with respect. How can you…this document went to caucus and now you will be here taking my boy for a laughing stock. No mein, you cyaah di rough up people like that.”
Stephanie Lindo Garbutt
Micah Goodin, City Councilor
“You cannot be doing that. You cyaah di do that, CA, and I noh wah accept it. I will not accept it. Have some respect for my people them, cah I no wah be nice.”
“Weh gone on, mein?”
“Noh di touch me, bredda! No di touch…Noh di touch me!”
“Micah, cool down…”
“Tiyad ah this [expletive] een ya.”
“Talk to you bwai. Di man da wah councilor, but he noh gwen disrespect me neither.”
“Weh you wah do? Weh you wah do? Weh you wah do?”
“You di gwan like wah real… [shouting] Micah, Micah, listen to me Micah, you cyaah, you cayaah di fool with me, Micah.”
“Do it, do it, Whylie, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it.”
“Chill, chill, chill, chill.”
“Micah, goh, goh, goh, Micah.”
Mayor Wagner, reading from a prepared statement, explained the Council’s course of action.
He stated, “Since taking office, I have tried to mentor and guide all my councilors, particularly Councilor Goodin, so we can all, as a group, realize our full potential as leaders of this city. This past week, Councilor Goodin tabled several new initiatives to caucus for consideration, even though these initiatives were not a part of this fiscal year’s work plan and budget.”
“Nevertheless, caucus considered these because we believed they were worthwhile and would be good for the community. The council’s accounting procedures require certain requirements to be met prior to funds disbursement. So, while these budgets were approved, it was not anticipated that funds were required for immediate disbursement on Wednesday morning,” the Mayor said.
The incident reportedly unfolded as Councilor Goodin barged into a meeting the City Administrator was having and demanded to speak to her immediately. Lindo-Garbutt and Councilor Goodin went into Mayor Wagner’s office. The Mayor was not at City Hall at that time.
It was then that Councilor Goodin demanded that funds be disbursed for the project that he had recommended, and which had been approved by the Council’s caucus.
Notwithstanding the fact that the accounting procedures had already been explained, Councilor Goodin completely disregarded that when he approached the City Administrator for disbursement of funds for his project.
“The council’s accounting procedures require certain requirements to be met prior to funds disbursement. So, while these budgets were approved, it was not anticipated that funds were required for immediate disbursement on Wednesday morning, as was demanded for the interoffice football team. This is what was explained to staff within the councilor’s portfolio.
“However, this was interpreted as an unwillingness to disburse the funds, which led to Councilor Goodin’s outburst with our city administrator,” said the Mayor.
Mayor Wagner added, “We consider such actions by our elected officials to be unprofessional and unacceptable. We must respect the protocols that are established through the legislation, and as such, it cannot be business as usual where politicians can intimidate senior administrative personnel and staff. We cannot be about the people, while on the other hand, treat our own staff with disrespect and disdain.”
Mayor Wagner went on to announce the re-allocation of Councilor Goodin’s portfolio.
“After gathering the pertinent information, I have taken the following decision with full support of my deputy and all councilors, and we will be redistributing the portfolios assigned to Councilor Goodin as follows: Management Information Systems will now be assigned to Deputy Arnold. Youth and Sports will now be assigned to Councilor Ryan Elijio and Training and Staff Development will now be assigned to Councilor Pitts. It is regrettable that we have reached this point,” he said.
Mayor Wagner stressed that he is unable to fire Councilor Goodin, “because he is an elected representative.”
During the question-and-answer session which followed Mayor Wagner’s statement, the Mayor made it clear that while no date has been designated for re-assigning a portfolio to Councilor Goodin, whom he said he has been mentoring, “my door is always open to him.”
When we contacted Councilor Goodin on Friday by phone, and invited him to comment, he told us that he would not comment, but instead he has a press conference planned for Monday after he has consulted his attorney.
As of press time today, that press conference has not been called.