Farmington Mayor Larry Forsythe made an official statement at Thursday’s city council meeting regarding the recent incident involving the city’s demolition of the downtown Hair We Go beauty salon after the parapet wall of the business began to crumble around noon on April 22.
City Administrator Greg Beavers offered to have city employees bring down the affected portion of the building, which resulted in the entire building being unsalvageable — although it’s not absolutely certain it would have been salvageable in any case.
The city — and in particular Beavers — has received complaints from the property owners who have stated that while they had given city employees permission to tear down the affected portion of the building, they had not expected there to be so much “collateral damage” incurred by the rest of the structure.
Forsythe began addressing the issue in the city meeting by scolding the property owners and members of the community for taking their complaints with the city to social media instead of bringing them directly to the city.
“I was never contacted or nothing and it’s been going…” he said. “Social media to me is like the first telephone that was ever invented — like a party line. You get on there, discussing something with somebody that’s very important. Somebody picks up the phone and listens to your conversation. We used to have one when I was a kid and it was very annoying. We used to do it also. That’s social media to me.
“The thing that happened down there — I’ll make one statement and that’s all that I will make. The thing that happened down at the old Cureton gas station was not intentional in no way, shape or form. We were trying to do a neighbor a favor. The favor went the other way and that’s basically what happened. I’m very sorry as the city and the mayor of Farmington that this has happened.
“Whatever you read on social media or if you hear this listening on the ‘party line,' it’s very false. If you have a problem and you want to address it or you think you know something that we don’t know, this is where you come to do this. You know, you don’t start rumors and accusations. You come here and we will tell you if they’re true or false.”
Mayor Forsythe completed his statement regarding the incident by vouching for Beavers’ ethical behavior in handling the entire situation.
The mayor also discussed his future handling of disagreements between the city and the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce in light of their confrontation last summer about allowing the sale of alcohol in Long Park during Country Days. A compromise was worked out for this year in that the Country Days beer garden will be located on South Long Avenue rather than in the park itself.
“I’m going to start attending the chamber meetings,” he said. “Whatever I dislike or like about the chamber, I’m not going to discuss here. I’m going to discuss it at the chamber meetings with the chamber. So, I will be seeing you every Friday or whatever day it is. When is the chamber meeting? End of the month Friday?”
Chamber Co-Director Candy Zarcone asked, “Are you talking about the board meetings?”
Forsythe replied, “Yes, the board meeting … the board meeting, I’m sorry, yes.”
“It’s the first Friday of every month,” Zarcone said.
Forsythe said, “OK, thank you. The board meeting is what I’m talking about. The chamber meetings are at the civic center.”
“Right,” Zarcone replied.
Forsythe said, laughing, “First, I’ve got to figure out what meeting I’m going to.”
Moving on to a different topic, the mayor reported that Beavers was seeking a replacement for the city’s parks and recreation director.
“He’s being very slow about it,” Forsythe said. “He wants the perfect guy, so he will find that by the end of June. If not, we will find one.”
The council responded with laughter to the mayor's remark.
The bulk of the meeting centered on the city’s annual report presented to the city council by Finance Department Director Michelle Daniel, who reported that Farmington remains in good financial shape.