UPDATE: December 8 at 10:00 p.m.: At Tuesday's city council meeting, Normandy Mayor Maurice Hunt said his rant took place after he walked in on public works employees eating lunch with guns out.
City council members stood by Hunt's motives to clean up problems in the city, but agreed the message could have been better.
The city council also voted to appoint Mark Hall as police chief.
NORMANDY, Mo. (KMOV.com) - A local mayor's tirade was recorded by city employees and now some people who work for that municipality tell News 4 Investigates that this is just one example of a hostile work environment.
The audio, which was taken at Normandy’s Public Works Department, lasts nearly 20 minutes, though employees say the incident went on for hours. It happened over the summer, but News 4 just obtained the audio recently.
News 4’s Lauren Trager has seen the video from which the audio stems, but News 4 agreed not to use it because employees were in fear of retaliation if it could be determined who was recording.
“If you don't like what I said, that's why none of you are clocked in right now, if I offend anybody, if I piss anybody off, you can gladly take your keys, and you can go home,” said Normandy Mayor Maurice Hunt.
Hunt was appointed by the City Council as a temporary mayor after the previous mayor stepped down. In the audio, he encourages employees not to come to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“If you guys are drinking, you have the right to tell your boss when they call after hours and say boss, ‘I would love to come to work, but I am f***** up. I have had six beers and smoked 2-3 blunts, I did some shots.’ Whatever pills you pop, I don't give a f***, just say, ‘I am f****’ed up,'” he says.
He repeatedly tells employees he alone controls their pay.
“You know I don't bull**** you guys, I buy you mother******* drinks, sandwiches, whatever the f*** you need, I am here for you, ain’t no f******* mayor done that for you,” he is heard saying.
But his speech also devolves into his thoughts on the Normandy Police Department and neighboring towns.
“I am investing all our money in sanitation, not the f******* police, nothing else, sanitation, because you are the key to make this city look like its looking or make it look professional and keeping our city from looking like Kinloch and Berkeley,” he said.
And, he specifically references white employees.
“The guys that work for me, in the organization that works for me, every white mother****** spits in my mother******* coffee, I know they spit in my coffee, you what I do, I leave it out for them spit in then, I throw that out and pour me another cup, because I expect that, because they hate my guts and I love that, because they don't do they job,” he said.
At one point in the recording, you can hear the mayor say the n-word. The audio is difficult to hear for city residents like Becky Harrington.
“I cried, it’s horrible,” she said. “The vulgarity of someone who is an elected official and someone who is supposed to be putting the best interest of Normandy forward, its horrific and it’s disgusting,” she said.
Harrington says no public employee should be spoken to like that. She thinks based on the audio alone, Hunt should be removed from office.
“He should not be allowed to make decisions about anyone’s employment if those are his feelings and that’s how he feels things should be run in the city,” she said.
News 4 wanted to talk with the mayor, who, as a part-time mayor, has another full-time job. He referred us to the city attorney Steve Garrett, who declined an on-camera interview.
Garrett said that the mayor regrets the language he used and that he lost his cool dealing with a situation with Public Works employees who he says were somewhat hostile to him.
But Harrington says that's no excuse.
“I don’t know how they could function after being spoken to that way,” she said.
News 4 reached out to the City Council through the City Clerk but never heard back. The council meets Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Garrett confirms Mark Hall will be named Chief of Police at the city council meeting. It comes after the previous chief was suspended, pending an internal investigation. He ultimately retired.
News 4 was told there was no official job posted and that people within the department were not given an opportunity to apply or be vetted for the position.