Council Still Divided Despite Roberts-Jordan Compromise
Though Roberts and Jordan decided to split their vote on the transportation board, council is still divided on Jordan's and Putens' exchange over two city board assignments.
Numerous disagreements led to the agreement at Greenbelt City Council’s last regular meeting — that Councilmember Rodney Roberts and Mayor Pro-Tem Emmett Jordan would share the city’s one seat on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government's Transportation Planning Board (TPB).
Mayor Judith “J” Davis said in an interview on Thursday that she hoped council would work together and get past this because that would be much better for Greenbelt.
But in the midst of Jordan’s and Roberts’ deliberations at Monday’s regular meeting, a dispute re-emerged threatening to make peace complicated.
Members clashed on what happened when Jordan and Councilmember Edward Putens tried to swap their seats on the Advisory Planning Board (APB) and Community Relations Advisory Board (CRAB).
Putens’ ability to buck Jordan when he thought the deal went south is at the heart of Roberts’ contention of unfair treatment by council. Roberts told council at its Jan. 9 meeting that Jordan didn’t keep his end of the deal with Putens.
“Well apparently Mr. Jordan decided that he was going to change his mind that he didn’t want to give up his committee. But at the same time he still wanted Mr. Putens’ committee,” Roberts said.
Putens and Jordan eventually agreed on a switch — but not until after Putens’ turned Jordan down, according to Roberts.
And there’s the rub. Roberts insists he was not allowed to turn Jordan down when Jordan came calling for his transportation board seat — but was instead being forced into a vote.
In an interview on Wednesday, Jordan contested Roberts’ recollection. He said in a December work session, Putens had expressed an openness to someone else taking his assignment to the APB — but no swap was mentioned. So Jordan took him up on it.
It was Putens who had a change of heart and later added CRAB into the deal at a legislative dinner, according to Jordan. Eventually the two worked out a swap at a Jan. 4 work session, Jordan said.
Not so, according to Putens, who said Jordan backed out of their agreement at that work session. So he turned Jordan down and the deal was off.
“I believe seven member of council had seven different viewpoints of that particular situation,” Mayor Davis told council Monday.
“At this time my recollection is different than Mr. Putens and Mr. Roberts,” she told Patch later.
But Roberts stands by his recollection. “You respected Mr. Putens, and you need to respect me as well,” Roberts said at council’s Jan. 9 meeting.
Roberts and Jordan eventually came to terms on Monday — sort of. After agreeing to the compromise, Roberts delivered a Parthian shot.
Roberts told council if anyone was getting a raw deal it was Councilmember Konrad Herling who had wanted to serve on the TPB for eight years.
“That’s far longer than Mr. Jordan’s two years,” he added.
For Jordan’s part, he told Patch he had a strong belief in building consensus. He said he thought he would have won if he had forced a vote on Monday, but he chose not to do that.
Greenbelter Tom Jones told council at its Jan. 9 meeting that he was grateful for both Jordan and Roberts. “They say politics makes strange bedfellows but I think in this case, it’s also making enemies of those who might otherwise be friends.”
"I think the two of them together will prove to be an asset to the city," Mayor Davis said in an interview. Though she felt Roberts and Jordan had different ways of handling matters, she said both ways could be advantageous for Greenbelt.
Let us know your thoughts, take the poll below. You don't have to register to weigh in — it just takes a mouse click.