published Friday, January 25th, 2013

Judge Arvin Reingold scolds East Ridge Council

East Ridge Judge Arvin Reingold's time in front of the microphone during a City Council meeting halted at the threat of handcuffs.

"If I've rambled, it's only because, yes, I'm upset," Reingold said, wrapping up his complaint about a controversy surrounding City Manager Tim Gobble and a September court case. "I'm upset at the uncouth manner it was handled."

Mayor Brent Lambert began to respond: "Thank you very much for coming forward --"

"I'm just getting warmed up," Reingold said.

Again, Lambert tried to respond: "I've given you 10 minutes so --"

"I know you don't want to hear this because you never picked up the phone," Reingold said.

"It's obvious you don't respect the rules of this opportunity for communication to speak," Lambert said, finally completing a thought uninterrupted.

"I live by the rules of decency, courtesy," Reingold said.

"If I have to get one of the policemen to escort you out," Lambert said, "I will."

Reingold said such a move would be necessary to make him leave the meeting. So the mayor asked for a police officer to come forward, and Lt. Clinton Uselton walked out with Reingold.

Reingold came to the City Council meeting to complain about how he felt the court had been disrespected by the city council and other government officials in recent months. The problems stem from a September court case involving Gobble's daughter, who was the victim of an alleged robbery.

Reingold said Gobble became upset with court clerks because they didn't tell Gobble soon enough whether a hearing for that court case would be delayed, and whether Gobble's daughter would have to appear. Gobble then suspended Court Clerk JoAnn Thomas and reprimanded two other court employees for "insubordination." In November, Judge Kevin Wilson of Collegedale ruled that Gobble "overstepped his bounds."

Reingold, who has been a judge in East Ridge for about 10 years, said he came to complain on Thursday after reading the minutes from a Dec. 27 council meeting where East Ridge Police Chief Eddie Phillips said his department was having problems with Reingold and his employees.

"How many of you are in business or work, when you have issues with someone you confront them with it?" Reingold said Thursday. "You don't go to a council meeting on Dec. 27. You pick up the phone and say, 'Judge, we have some issues.'"

Reingold also criticized Gobble's use of the government's Facebook page.

"This bickering has got to stop if we're going to have an honorable city that we're all proud of," Reingold said.

About 10 minutes after he left the meeting, Reingold returned. He could stay, the council decided.

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