Council feud

Schexnaydre accuses Benedetto of not returning phone calls, answering emails of citizens

August 06, 2008 at 9:22 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Councilwoman Carolyn Schexnaydre
Shonna Riggs/Herald Guide
Councilwoman Carolyn Schexnaydre
Councilwoman-at-large Carolyn Schexnaydre says that she’s received complaints from residents that District III Councilwoman Wendy Benedetto doesn’t return emails or respond to the phone calls of those living in her district.

“I’m not dodging any phone calls,” Benedetto said. “I want to work with Ms. Carolyn. I think she’s a huge asset to the council, but she needs to learn to work together with other council members.”

Schexnaydre says that by the time the residents in Benedetto’s district get to her, they’re not happy.
“Out of courtesy to Ms. Benedetto, I always ask the resident, ‘did you contact Ms. Benedetto before calling me?’ They all say that they have and their calls were not returned and I have no reason to doubt them.”

Schexnaydre says that she’s attempted to email Benedetto many times about various issues, and she didn’t get a response either.

“Whenever I receive a complaint from a resident, whether it be by email or phone call, I always forward those to Ms. Benedetto so she knows what’s going on,” Schexnaydre said. “Then I move forward and handle the issue for the resident.”
Schexnaydre says she is willing to work with Benedetto - she just wants her to be more responsive when it comes to her constituents.

“I may not check my email every day,” Benedetto said. “So, for those people who can’t seem to find me, Ms. Barbara (Jacobs), the council secretary, will always be able to.”
Jacobs says she hasn’t received any complaints from residents that council members have not been returning their phone calls or responding to emails.

“There is no policy mandating that council members return all phone calls and emails, but when they took the oath of office, they swore to uphold the rules and regulations of their office and be available to their constituency,” she said.

Jacobs says citizens are welcome to contact the council office, and the staff will do everything they can to help with any problems or concerns. They will even contact the council member for them.

“Council members are issued cell phones to be an avenue of communication between them and the council secretary - as well as the public,” she said.

Benedetto says her government issued phone isn’t working properly and she hardly gets any calls.
“I may get one or two phone calls per week,” she said. “Usually, it’s about minor problems, like garbage, railroad tracks in need of repair, property that’s not being kept up after someone abandoned it, the pumping station, or maybe something like that.”

As to the concerns that Benedetto isn’t doing enough for her district, she says she’s sitting back and observing right now. Benedetto is planning to make some moves to help her constituency very soon.

“Just give me time,” Benedetto, the business owner, real estate agent, wife and mother of three, said. “I’m still getting used to my surroundings and being familiar with the things concerning the council.”

Benedetto does agree that most of the people who may have concerns about Ormond have contacted Schexnaydre.
“I think the majority of the calls are going to Carolyn and that’s fine with me,” she said. “But I want the residents to know that I’m also available if they have any concerns.”
Benedetto says that communication needs to be better within the council.

“I haven’t been included in many private meetings,” she said. “If I was called to participate, I would absolutely come. My schedule is flexible and I can work around it if I am given more than a 24-hour notice.”

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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