Behind the scenes in ‘spat’ – Why did Barlow, Oddo retreat?
Brown reappointed chairman, Oddo renamed vice chair; apologies all around
An hour prior to the Jan. 9 Fayette County Commission meeting, fellow commissioners Steve Brown and David Barlow brought their feuding to a halt.
The two men sat down and talked out their differences, they said.
“He offered me what I felt was a heartfelt apology,” Barlow said. “We talked I’d guess about 15 minutes about things, and I accepted it and was good with it, and I said ‘I have no reason not to support you because that’s what I said I would do.’”
Barlow was so emboldened by Brown’s overture that he authored the motion to reappoint Brown as commission chair, and the motion passed unanimously. The two men then shook hands, as planned in advance, and Barlow slipped in a hug for good measure. The commission also unanimously reappointed Oddo as vice chair.
Brown on Monday struck a different tone in an interview about the matter, admitting that he needed to communicate better with his fellow commissioners about details, including the various moving pieces on big projects such as the interchange of Interstate 85 and Ga. Highway 74.
“I do make emails and phone calls, but I’m going to have to broaden the communication base so they’re included,” Brown said.
Brown also had a 1-on-1 meeting with Commissioner Chuck Oddo prior to the meeting as well.
“I’m very glad everything is back on an even footing now and we’re running again at full speed getting a lot of things done,” Brown said. “Both Chuck and David were very gracious and I applaud them for it, and I’m looking forward to working with them on future issues.”
Oddo noted that he never publicly put his name in the hat for the chairmanship, as he had expected his email on the matter to remain private. Turns out it was Brown who provided the email to The Citizen.
“That was my approach to how I wanted to handle it, and obviously nobody listened to me,” Oddo said.
Nevertheless, the meeting with Brown ended on a cordial note.
“We had a meeting, we talked and shook hands and left, and things developed as they developed,” Oddo said.
As for any animosity on the issue, Barlow said he had none, and he was not out to “hate” Brown.
“I don’t have to hate you to disagree with you,” Barlow said.
Barlow credited Brown for his summary of what is now being referred to in county politics as “the spat” over the chairmanship.
Barlow apologized during the meeting to the public and to county officials for any embarrassment he may have caused the county as the matter played out in local newspapers.
Brown characterized the meeting with Barlow as “more of a heart-to-heart than anything else.” He feels it’s important for the commissioners to learn to “agree to disagree” at times.
“It just comes down to when push comes to shove, you’ve got to solve these things and you’ve got to get these things taken care of,” Brown said. “We sat down in the room and went over a list of things ... we settled all the scores and said ‘all right, let’s go on and move forward.’”
In photos below, prior to the Jan. 9 vote, Fayette County commissioners (L-R) Steve Brown, Allen McCarty and Randy Ognio confer. Second photo below, Commissioner David Barlow makes a public statement. Photos/John Munford.