Rhome council votes to censure mayor over complaints of bullying, unprofessional behavior

The Rhome city council voted unanimously last week to censure Mayor Patricia Mitchell after investigating an employee’s complaint alleging that Mitchell behaved in a rude, abusive manner and failed to sign important documents.

The censure resolution accused Mitchell of violating the city’s ethics code and directed city administrator Amanda DeGan to publish the resolution on the city’s web site and in the newspaper of record to inform the community.

On April 18, the council met, and Mayor Pro Tem Michelle Tye read the resolution calling for the mayor’s censure.

“This resolution is put forth due to rude, discourteous, and unprofessional conduct of Mayor Patricia Mitchell which is beneath the dignity of the Office of Mayor of the City of Rhome and in violation of the City’s Code of Ethics.”

Mitchell declined to comment on details of the investigation because she said it was discussed in executive session.

However, she said, “the allegations are false.”

Mitchell said she wasn’t at the meeting when the vote was taken because she did not feel well and added that the resolution was voted on several days before early voting got underway for the May 4 municipal elections.

Mitchell is running for her second term, saying more needs to be done to bring change to city hall..

Kenneth Crenshaw is running against Mitchell.

Complaints against Mitchell

On Feb. 28, city secretary Shaina Odom filed a complaint against Mitchell, alleging that the mayor was rude and abusive toward employees on several occasions.

In her complaint, obtained by the Star-Telegram, Odom stated that Mitchell bullied and intimidated employees. Odom cited examples of Mitchell’s behavior, including when Mitchell told Odom she was not following proper procedures in drawing for places on the ballot for the May 4 election.

The complaint also described an incident after the Feb. 8 council meeting when Odom asked Mitchell to sign two of the 13 ordinances that the council approved. The two ordinances were necessary for the upcoming elections, and Odom stated that she needed to send them to Wise County the next day.

Odom said, “Mayor Mitchell, I know you don’t like signing these right after the meeting, however, I have two for elections that need to go to Wise County tomorrow morning. Could you please sign these two before you leave tonight.” Mitchell, according to the complaint, replied, “Quite interesting that you have an emergency for me tonight, but you couldn’t even be bothered to come to work last week so that I could sign checks.”

Odom wrote in her complaint that the city administrator signs checks.

Odom described another incident involving Mitchell that occurred shortly after the 2022 election, when Odom asked Mitchell to sign a consent agenda for executive session. She signed the document and later requested a copy of the document. Odom said she explained that the certified agenda was the only document that the mayor could not have by law.

Odom’s complaint alleged that Mitchell tried making “secret copies” of the agenda on several occasions.

“These are not the only things that have happened,” Odom said in her complaint. “The continuing abuse of City Staff is absolutely out of control. Since I have started working in Rhome in 2019, we have lost at least 8 Staff/Council members due to the constant abuse/ Hostile work Environment.”

Mitchell faced similar accusations in 2022 involving the departure of city administrator Cynthia Northrop, who also complained of a hostile work environment. Northrop “separated” from the city and was payed $125,000.