HOLMES BEACH – In a surprise move, Mayor Judy Titsworth not only publicly named two residents who called her to report noise issues but also reprimanded the two from the dais during a Feb. 12 commission meeting.
During mayoral comments at the start of the meeting, Titsworth read a prepared statement to city officials and the gathered public concerning two phone calls she’d received over the weekend, one from resident Richard Motzer and one from resident and Commissioner Kim Rash.
“Last weekend I was called twice about noise complaints. The first call was made by resident Kim Rash. For some reason, he didn’t want to be a commissioner when he called at 11:15 at night. I was called 15 minutes before he decided to call the police. The police did respond after they completed a traffic stop and they addressed the situation. The second call I received was made by Mr. Motzer on Sunday afternoon and when I asked him to call the police he refused and said that they wouldn’t do anything and then he angrily said goodbye. In both instances, they said they were only doing what I told them to do. Because of the nature of both of these calls I have unfortunately blocked them from my phone as I don’t condone bullying or harassment,” Titsworth said.
She concluded her comments by calling on Code Enforcement Officer James Thomas to inform commissioners and the public how to properly report a noise complaint to city officials.
While Rash’s only comment during the meeting from the dais was that in calling the mayor, he was doing what he had been instructed to do, Motzer was not present during the discussion.
According to emails between Rash and Titsworth, the call to the mayor’s phone on Feb. 9 resulted in a voicemail that she responded to the following morning by email, volunteering to follow up on the noise complaint with some additional information from Rash. The email chain shows that Rash responded to the request with more details about the situation, offering to work with Titsworth to bring solutions for noise back to his fellow commissioners. In an interview with the Sun, Rash said that he also went to city hall to try and meet with the mayor before the Feb. 12 meeting but was not accommodated by Titsworth.
Rash forwarded the emails between himself and Titsworth to City Clerk Stacey Johnston on Feb. 13 along with a statement to be shared with commissioners. In the email he said, “I was totally shocked at Mayor Titsworth’s attacks towards me, especially on the dais. I am 100 percent sure Judy asked me to call her direct if I ever had a noise problem. That is what I did. The email she sent Sunday morning was totally different than her attacks at the meeting. I thought my reply was very professional to her. I want to build bridges toward solutions.”
The Feb. 9 incident involving Rash and renters at 202 72nd Street was reported to HBPD officers who were involved in a traffic stop when the call from Rash came in at 11:31 p.m. Rash states that he called Titsworth to witness the noise at 11:16 p.m. He said that when the residents of the property moved back inside before officers arrived that he called HBPD dispatch and said the noise had stopped. According to HBPD records, that call came in at 11:49 p.m. Officers still responded to the call, Chief Bill Tokajer said, and determined that it was unfounded. They spoke to the residents who agreed to turn off a generator powering an incorrectly parked recreational vehicle and agreed to correctly park the vehicle as soon as possible.
Motzer also chose to respond to the mayor’s comments by email.
“Some residents, including myself, have expressed that we were totally blindsided by the mayor at the Feb. 12 commission meeting where I was not even present. All of us have had the understanding that Mayor Titsworth has told them to call her if there were noise issues. She even lamented in a Nov. 22 text ‘the Motzers have never called.’”
Motzer’s wife, Margie, was at the Feb. 12 meeting.
Motzer’s email goes on to say that the call to Titsworth lasted 32-seconds because she was not in town. He said that he did state she suggested he call the police but that he has found reporting noise complaints to officers to be “ineffective and/or counterproductive.” Motzer said he had no knowledge of Rash’s call to the mayor the night before.
Regarding the mayor’s comments about exhibiting bullying and harassing behavior, he said the accusations are false.
“Citizens were taken aback that this was done in public forum and that two residents were blocked with one call each after being, not only instructed, but encouraged to do so,” he said in the email.
“After the meeting there were more residents discussing the imminence of moving, so we are losing more residents because of incidents such as the above,” he said, concluding the emailed statement. “We need professional leadership.”
Though Motzer’s complaint was not called in to the HBPD, Tokajer followed up on it via the NoiseAware system installed in the rental he said Motzer was complaining about noise coming from, 5501 Holmes Boulevard. At the time the call came in to Titsworth, Tokajer said the print out from the NoiseAware system showed no noise that would violate the city’s 65-decibel noise maximum for daytime noise.