AKRON--A discussion between Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Akron Ward 4 Councilman Russel Neal, Jr., escalates into a physical altercation, although both men blame the other for what happened.
It occurred Monday night at the last city council meeting of the year, after the new council members were sworn into office.
Councilman Neal and Mayor Plusquellic were reportedly speaking publicly inside council chambers at first, but as the conversation intensified, the men went behind closed doors to a lounge area.
The men disagree about what was said and why the conversation became heated, but the mayor said at that point he decided to leave. “I just said I’m not talking about it any longer,” said Mayor Plusquellic. “And he pursued me and pushed through me and jumped in front of the door and wouldn’t allow me to leave," the mayor continued.
However, Councilman Neal accused the mayor of being the aggressor. He said, “I went to the door and I was leaning against the door and the mayor pushed me and I took his hands off me.”
Akron police were called but no reports or charges were filed.
When FOX 8 caught up with the mayor, Tuesday afternoon, he was at a press conference discussing the city's aging sewer system and the on-going efforts to repair it while working with the EPA and challenges in federal court.
The mayor said squabbling is detrimental to the city's growth and future.
He said it’s important that he and city council work together on these serious issues and improve Akron.
“I’m willing to let bygones be bygones,” said Mayor Plusquellic. “He’s asked if I would meet with him and I agreed to do that.”
Although Councilman Neal strongly disagrees with the mayor’s version of events, he too is willing to move forward and says that they must work together for the sake of the city. “We’ve got issues that we truly have to work together to address the needs of our constituents - the citizens of Akron,” said Councilman Neal.
The men have agreed to a private meeting although a time and location is not being released publicly.