Seat Pleasant mayor to work from a tent

Seat Pleasant mayor Eugene Grant was evicted from his office after a closed-door meeting. Now, he plans to work from a tent outside City Hall. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WASHINGTON — A local mayor has been kicked out of his office space, so he’s decided to set up a new office in a tent outside.

“There is (sic) allegations that I have created a hostile and intimidating work environment that has never been brought to me formally to address,” Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant tells WTOP.

A WTOP reporter found him placing cellphone calls while walking around the parking lot and neighborhood behind City Hall.

On Monday, during a closed-door meeting, a majority of City Council members voted to boot the mayor from his office.

“The City’s employees are entitled to a working environment free from hostility and intimidation,” reads a letter given to Grant after the meeting. “The Mayor, on the other hand, has no entitlement or right under local or State law to an office at City Hall.

“Given the repeated and ongoing complaints concerning your conduct towards City employees, the City Council deems it necessary and appropriate to revoke the Mayor’s privilege to use office space at City Hall in order to limit your interaction with City Employees.”

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The letter sent by the City Council to Mayor Grant. (Courtesy of Council President Reveral Yeargin)

Grant admits he’s assertive, tends to raise his voice when speaking and holds employees to high standards. But he says he didn’t intend to intimidate anyone.

He says the complaints against him should have gone to the city’s Ethics Board, and some members of the Council have become “rogue and renegade.”

“This travesty of justice has allowed the Council to put themselves in a position as judge, jury and executioner,” Grant says.

While he weighs his legal options, the mayor plans to set up a new office on Monday in a tent right in front of City Hall: “[I’m going to] pop up my tent, put my table and chair [inside], and I’m going to conduct business.”

The mayor says he might take his tent on tour.

“I’m thinking about moving the tent to other areas of the city, so I won’t always be in the same place every week,” Grant says. “Some days I’ll be [at City Hall], some days I’ll be in another section of the city, but getting closer to the residents because the service to my constituents will not stop.”

Grant also plans to use Twitter to spread the word about where his office will be from day to day. The mayor is serving his third term and didn’t plan to run for re-election in 2016, but that’s changed.

Says Grant, “This has motivated me to run again.”

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