HUBER HEIGHTS — Eva Newby, who was considered to fill the Ward 5 vacancy on the Huber Heights City Council, and the Dayton Unit of the NAACP were vocal in their criticism of Mayor Tom McMasters and the process that filled the vacany at Monday’s council meeting.
Newby, along with two other candidates – Michale Urig and Jerry Wamsley – failed to get the needed five votes for appointment to the seat vacated by Tracy Dudley at the February 25 council meeting.
McMasters, using authority granted in the City Charter, appointed Nancy Byrge to fill the seat.
“I did what I thought was my civic duty and applied for the vacant Ward 5 Council seat,” said Newby. “For almost a month, it has been nothing but (a) media circus.”
Newby said she has received calls at her job, home, and on her cell phone by media outlets seeking her response to the controversial search for a new council member.
“I continue to make the same comment over and over – no comment,” said Newby.
Derrick Forward, President of the Dayton Unit of the NAACP, also expressed dismay at the events leading to Byrge’s appointment, specifically referencing McMaster’s comments at the February 25 meeting that, had it not been for accusations of racism and sexism by Council Member Ed Lyons, he would have appointed Newby to the vacant seat.
“During our lengthy conversation, I urged the Mayor to do what he said he was going to do,” said Forward. “What would have been just and fair in this case, in his (McMasters’) own words, would have been to appoint Ms. Newby. That came from his mouth – that was his intention.”
Forward said that he was surprised to learn McMasters had made an appointment and that Byrge had not been one of the people interviewed originally.
“You reached out to me – I did not call you, Mayor, you called me, and the whole thing is disturbing to me,” said Forward. “It all centers around one person – the Mayor. I don’t understand why we can’t handle the business of Huber Heights and leave the personalities by the wayside.”
Newby said that McMasters visited her home and made calls to her and said she needed to bring together business people and citizens to “speak on my character and integrity.”
“I have been used as a pawn on a chess board with the Mayor making ultimatums in front of the media,” said Newby. “This seat was being held hostage and the citizens of Ward 5 are the ones getting the short end of the stick.”
Newby said her concern is for the city and its reputation.
“We have been made a laughing stock,” she said. “I have lived in the city 20 years and never have I been so embarrassed to say that I live here.” “(This process) has made the city look bad and the council look bad. I think something needs to be done to rectify what has been done to make us a laughing stock.”
McMasters thanked Newby at the end of her comments.
“I appreciate this must have been difficult for you as well, and the process,” said McMasters. “I know that I have learned a lot and most of everything you have said is accurate…I do understand your frustration.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.
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