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Thiess explains why she recorded meeting - The Galveston County Daily News: Guest Columns

September 30, 2016

Thiess explains why she recorded meeting

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Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 12:00 am

When former City Manager Mike Loftin unexpectedly canceled a posted council budget meeting, Councilman Dan Becker spoke with Mayor Tim Paulissen and requested a meeting to discuss some miscommunication issues with Loftin and the mayor. 

It was not a secret meeting, nor was it closed-door. 

I was invited to assist as an intermediary and I was happy to help in that capacity because contrary to an erroneous report by The Galveston County Daily News, I was not involved in the conflict, nor had I accused anyone of anything.

Just as I arrived at City Hall, Mayor Paulissen notified council member Becker via text that council members Joanna Dawson and Dennis OKeeffe had “unexpectedly” arrived.

Becker replied via return text message that he didn’t care who joined the meeting but cautioned the mayor to not create a quorum.  

The mayor acknowledged an issue regarding quorum as Becker and I headed upstairs.

I had immediate concern about OKeeffe’s presence and his intent. 

Due to numerous public and private allegations OKeeffe has made against fellow council members and staff, as a rule, I will not have a conversation with him that is not on the record.

Furthermore, I had personally endured a very offensive encounter with OKeeffe that required me to call in a staff member to witness. 

I then subsequently informed the mayor that I would never meet with OKeeffe again without a record or witness of his erratic and offensive behavior.

Thus, I was duly alarmed to be walking into what I now believed to be an intensely hostile situation.

Before entering the meeting, I observed the room through the glass wall. 

Paulissen and Dawson were calmly seated at a table, but OKeeffe appeared visibly agitated.

He was disheveled, filthy, soaked in sweat, and he looked belligerent. 

It was obvious that a meeting intended to resolve some miscommunication had turned into a very volatile situation.  

I made an instant defensive decision to document what we have unfortunately come to expect from OKeeffe — ugly statements, name calling and unconscionable false accusations.  

I certainly did not expect what followed, but my caution was well founded, and you can now hear the rest of the encounter for yourself. 

For all intents and purposes, no meeting actually took place and the recorded record reflects that.