KAYSVILLE — More fireworks went off in Kaysville's City Council meeting Tuesday night, but this time they weren't related to Fourth of July festivities.
The Kaysville City Council voted 4-1 to remove Councilman Dave Adams — who has seen no shortage of conflict in and out of Kaysville City Hall — from Tuesday night's meeting after Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt accused Adams of sexual harassment for calling her "sweetheart."
The exchange between Witt and Adams — who have had their fair share of clashes in the past — occurred during the council's discussion of a fiber optic network after Adams began speaking into his microphone without waiting to be called on by the mayor, who acts as chairwoman of the council and directs conversation during Kaysville's meetings.
“Hey, Councilmember Adams, can I call on you please?" Witt said, interrupting Adams. "We still do have rules, OK?”
“Oh, thank you, sweetheart. Go ahead,” Adams said, drawing exclamations and head shakes from other members of the council.
“That’s offensive,” Witt told Adams.
“There’s conversation on the table, you need to let it happen,” Adams rebuked.
Witt sighed as Councilman Stroh DeCaire called an “objection — a big one,” while other council members called for a “point of order.”
“Taken,” Adams said.
The mayor then called on Adams and allowed the conversation to continue for a few minutes. At one point, she can be seen whispering briefly to Councilwoman Michelle Barber before she pushed pause on the discussion again.
“Excuse me, forgive me for interrupting. I’ve never encountered this situation," Witt said. "I feel that the comment that was made is sexual harassment. It is not proper to call someone ‘sweetheart.’”
Adams interjected again, firing back at Witt.
“Should I play the video of you doing the same stuff a year and a half ago to me in your office? I still have it," Adams said. "I apologize for what I’ve done. Why don’t you apologize for a year and a half ago? And I still have harassing text messages from you. So do you want to call a truce?”
Witt, ignoring Adams, then called on the rest of the council to entertain a motion to remove Adams from the meeting. Councilman Jake Garn made the motion, saying, "I honor and respect the mayor and chair position" and he believed it was an "appropriate motion."
The motion passed 4-1, with Adams being the only "nay" vote. Adams slowly gathered his notes before leaving the council desk. The discussion then continued without Adams.
Reached Wednesday, Adams told the Deseret News he did not mean "anything degrading, condescending or inappropriate by the statement" and he said he was "sorry for offending or making Mayor Witt feel uncomfortable."
"I apologized right when I sensed her being insulted," Adams said, but he went on to describe a history of contention with Witt, who took office more than 18 months ago, as well as conflict with a council that largely doesn't agree with his views.
"The mayor called me out without waiting to be called upon, a situation that happens at most if not all meetings," Adams said. "There was a simple discussion at the table, and she refuses to allow any dialogue or open discussion. I meant no disrespect when I joined the conversation. It's very hard to have any discussion when the mayor controls the content, dialogue and who can speak."
Adams said it's been "a long 18 months dealing with constant criticism and mistreatment," and added that he has felt "sexually harassed" by Witt as well.
Adams described an encounter in Witt's office where he said she made a "kissy-face" while saying, "Oh poor baby boy Dave" as well as other encounters where Adams said she used a vulgarity to refer to him in the parking lot.
"I will learn from this and better myself moving forward," he said. "I feel last night will be a growing and learning moment for myself and the mayor and look forward to a more positive work environment, on and off the record, in the future."
Witt on Monday told the Deseret News that Adams' comments about her interactions with him are an "act of desperation on his part to shift the focus away from himself."
"Really anybody who knows me or been around me knows how ridiculous that is — and, honestly, who threatens to blackmail someone on camera?" she said, referring to the City Council's livestream of Tuesday's meeting. "It's sad."
Witt said Adams' disruptive behavior on the council has become "all too common" and "it's my job to provide leadership to make sure meetings are on track and that people feel comfortable there."
The mayor called Adams' comment and tone "sexist" and "obviously disruptive to our official meeting, and it had to be dealt with."
"I want our residents to understand that if someone acts like this during an official meeting, either toward me or anyone else, I'm not going to stand for it," she said.
DeCaire backed up the mayor, calling Adams' behavior speaking out of turn "all too common."26 comments on this story
"It gets to a point where it's frustrating," he told the Deseret News, calling Adams' comments and tone "demeaning," and criticized him for trying to "air out dirty laundry" during a council meeting.
It's not the first time Adams has made headlines and drew controversy to Kaysville. On Witt's first day as mayor, she and the Kaysville City Council voted to censure Adams after the Deseret News reported Adams was being investigated in an extortion case. That case hasn't resulted in any charges as of Tuesday.
Adams also came under fire after state auditors in 2016 concluded he inappropriately used nearly $6,000 of city funds to repair his personal firetruck, which he later paid back.