Tensions remained high at the Brooklet City Council meeting after an issue escalated a month prior and was tabled without a resolution.
The tension, however, was between a citizen and a council member.
During the May meeting, Councilman Greg Schlierf brought to the attention of council the need to move the city bank accounts from Farmers & Merchants Bank to another more user-friendly, cost effective institution. He and City Administrator had contacted Core Credit Union about the perks of their institution. A constructive conversation was had between council members as they weighed options, interest, legality, and efficiency of the two banks, both with branches inside Brooklet city limits.
Councilman Randy Newman alluded to the fact that Farmers & Merchants Bank should be given the opportunity to remedy the problems before seeking another institution and a member of the public voiced concern about moving from FMB at all.
Other residents were contributing to the conversation, specifically about the need to shop around, when Sharon Meyer chimed voiced her opinion:
Meyer: “Why should we have to be careful not to offend when we’re the customer? It’s about customer service. But to respond to this gentleman’s thing ‘Oh we gotta be careful,’ let me remind you who the customer is: I AM. I have the money. If you want my business, then you have to earn it. I’m sorry, friends go out the door when we’re talking about my money.”
Councilman Russell Davis: “How many places have you lived in your lifetime in another town, I’m just asking?
Meyer: “No..I don’t know.”
Sharon Meyer is the wife of Brooklet Police Chief Doug Meyer. She later stated she and her husband have been Brooklet residents for two and a half years.
Councilman Davis: “That does have something to do with it cause I was wanting to make an example. See, there are a lot of people who have lived here all their lives, they don’t want a mess, and then all these newcomers come in and that’s what y’all say, ‘Oh, well, this..” No – it does matter. This is hometown to a thousand – or hundreds of people that’s lived her all their lives and then you get a bunch of people coming in from all over the world, coming in, puttin’ their two cents in and trying to change it their way when it’s kind of like, ‘Why don’t you just join in with the community?'”
Councilman Schlierf: “Maybe because people who come in new have experiences that outweigh the standard ‘We’ve done it this way always’ thinking. Experiences and vision of other ways of doing things is what makes things better. Doing it that way because that’s the way we always did it is what holds things back.”
Meyer commented again requesting that the council simply do research on both Farmers and Merchants Bank and Core Credit Union just to compare equally. As she was speaking, Davis could be heard calling Meyer a ‘snowflake’ and saying ‘Settle down tonight, jeeez…’
Council went on to pass a motion to further compare the two banks. But that wasn’t the end of it.
During the public comment portion of the June council meeting, Sharon Meyer revisited her exchange with Councilman Davis without calling him by name:
“…I tell you this, and I tell you truthfully: I am proud to tell people where I live and where I’m from and I brag on our city council. I don’t do that often in the places we have lived, Texas being one of them, because of the corruption. This is a great council. That being said, when I expressed my right to disagree or at least say, “Hey – before we vote, before you vote, on choosing a bank, let’s hear from our banking industries. Not just one, but all of them.” And the response I got from a councilman, was to be called a name, and I don’t appreciate that.
You are public servants. And you represent this city. If you don’t like what I said, fine. Go home and call me all the names you want – I don’t care. But to do it in open forum here is very disrespectful and degrading to this city. You are elected officials and you are held to a higher standard than I am because you are an elected official. I don’t appreciate the name calling. I don’t appreciate this behavior of throwing a temper tantrum or whatever else out of my elected officials. Whether it’s a small town or big town.”
Mayor Bill Hendrix thanked Meyer for appearing before them and no further comments were made about the issue.
You can read Sharon Meyer’s entire soliloquy to the council below:
“This is in regards to last month’s banking issue and what appeared to be opposition to the status quo and the response of different individuals to that, I wanted to address that. Those of us that expressed looking to being frugal with our money, our taxpayer’s money, by shopping around for different banking industries, um, I don’t think quite merited the response that I received from a councilman. And it was mentioned that we weren’t here, that because we weren’t from here and because we’d only be here for a very short period of time in respect to other people that we didn’t really know what we were talking about, that we didn’t really have a voice, that we couldn’t really like this town, or that we wouldn’t know what’s best for this town and I take issue with that.
We have lived here now for two and a half years and we really like being here. It’s one of the best places we have lived. And that coming from a native Houstonian, a native Texan says a lot about your community, to where I’m willing to stay here. I’m telling you guys, that says a lot about your community and your townfolk. We have felt welcomed, we have felt embraced, and encouraged, and we appreciate that.
However, when we first moved here and I started doing my shopping and interacting with people and asking “Hey, where can I go to get my hair done?” “Where are nice places to eat?” and people began to give us reference and people would ask where we lived and I would said, “Oh we live in Brooklet,”…when we first moved here two and a half years ago, I kid you not, the response I got was “You live in Brooklet?” And I said, “Yeah, it’s a nice little town. Okay, what’s going on here?” And the response I got, at least 50%, close to 75%, of the time, was “Oh, no. Brooklet’s a corrupt little town.” And I’m going, where do you live? No, I don’t think so, people.
Well, since then, I have continued to ask people for different references for different things that we have needed, and what I hear now…”They’ve really upped their stuff. I hear that that’s a nice little community now.” Since we’ve lived here it has been, I don’t what y’all people saw, but this is what we see, so I say kudos to this council. I cannot speak for prior to this council, I cannot. I can tell you what I’ve heard and I always take into account the source. Some people I wouldn’t, I just wouldn’t give any credence to what they say. So I consider the source.
But I tell you this, and I tell you truthfully: I am proud to tell people where I live and where I’m from and I brag on our city council. I don’t do that often in the places we have lived, Texas being one of them, because of the corruption. This is a great council. That being said, when I expressed my right to disagree or at least say, “Hey – before we vote, before you vote, on choosing a bank, let’s hear from our banking industries. Not just one, but all of them.” And the response I got from a councilman, was to be called a name, and I don’t appreciate that.
You are public servants. And you represent this city. If you don’t like what I said, fine. Go home and call me all the names you want – I don’t care. But to do it in open forum here is very disrespectful and degrading to this city. You are elected officials and you are held to a higher standard than I am because you are an elected official. I don’t appreciate the name calling. I don’t appreciate this behavior of throwing a temper tantrum or whatever else out of my elected officials. Whether it’s a small town or big town.
You are an elected official and you are a servant of the people and you need to hear our voice. Because in the end, gentleman and ladies, We, WE the taxpayer, WE the voter, are your bosses and too often politicians forget that. If you want to stay with the bank you are currently with, fine. I want to know that you’ve done your homework, you’ve done your research and that’s the best interest for this city and my taxpaying money. If it’s to go somewhere else, then do that. Do you research and do your homework. And make sure that your vote is based upon what is best for this city financially. That’s how we’re going to stay in the black and out of the red. By being frugal with OUR money. I would appreciate that.”