MILTON, Ga. — Councilmembers Matt Kunz and Joe Longoria exchanged heated words prior to a Milton City Council meeting Aug. 28 that was called to extend the qualifying period for Longoria’s District 3, Post 1 seat.
Longoria had misunderstood the time qualifying ended on Aug. 25, stating it was no one’s fault but his own.
The fiery discussion continued during the meeting.
Longoria said Kunz stated to him, “Just show up,” before the meeting began. Longoria said he thought Kunz was “giving him a hard time,” but Kunz’s tone changed and he raised his voice.
Longoria stood up and approached Kunz, trying to identify the issue, he said.
“I’ve seen [Kunz] get excited and I’ve seen him get emotional,” Longoria said. “But that wasn’t what this was. He was mad.”
Kunz had passed a tipping point, Longoria said. After stating he felt things could get out of control, Longoria said he backed off and ignored what Kunz was saying.
When the meeting began, Kunz shared his discontent with Longoria.
“I am ticked that we have to be here,” Kunz said. “I don’t think there’s any excuse for people to not give effort as a city councilman. I come in here day-in and day-out to fight for the very promises I make. I see people that don’t give effort and they want us to make amends for an entitlement issue.”
Because the qualifying extension was for Longoria’s current seat, Longoria recused himself from discussion.
“I can’t vote for this,” Kunz said later in the meeting. “[The citizens] deserve people who show up, people who work and people who come to meetings.”
In a statement on Facebook, Kunz said he was “disappointed in a councilman with incredible talent failed to make the effort to qualify during the qualifying period. The football coach in me let him know we need to give effort to make Milton a great place.”
Longoria wasn’t happy with that reasoning.
“That makes no sense whatsoever,” Longoria said. “It’s 100 percent inapplicable.”
Longoria said the council members are all professionals, not football players.
“We don’t draw inspiration from conflict,” he said. “We draw from rational discussion. We seek leadership in those who can inspire, not those who berate or show inappropriate emotion.”
Kunz said both councilmembers have since apologized.
“I regret the circumstances that happened between councilman Longoria and me,” he said. “I hope that time can heal the wounds between us and we can put this past us.”
But Longoria stated he did not want the occurrence to be a “non-event.”
“I’m embarrassed the event occurred at all,” he said.