Angelia James mug

Angelia James 

MONROE — City Council has voted 5-2 on a resolution to censure councilwoman Angelia James. The resolution “condemns her actions in the strongest possible terms as not meeting the standards expected of members of the City Council and leaders of the City of Monroe.”

The vote was taken during a special meeting held by City Council on Sept. 28 via Zoom. James and councilmember Franco McGee voted against the resolution.

Councilman Freddie Gordon presented the resolution saying council would have addressed the incident at an earlier meeting, but under guidance from the Union County Health Department concerning COVID-19, the meeting was canceled.

“I want to tell you that this has been a troubling time for us all,” Gordon said.

Mayor Bobby Kilgore removed James from her mayoral committees and local committees she serves as a city representative, according to Gordon, who added he and others on council support Kilgore’s decision.

Councilwoman Surluta Anthony said the behavior James exhibited during the incidents on Sept. 9 and 10 were “not her normal behavior.” She noted that James was under a lot of stress. Referring to the resolution, Anthony said, “perhaps this will put it to bed.”

McGee echoed the same comments saying James‘ recent behavior is new and is not consistent with her personality in past years. He said stress can lead people to “do things out of character.”

“One isolated mistake in time doesn’t make that person ... I don‘t feel like it’s fair for people to clump all of that in her leadership from the last couple of years…,“ McGee said.

James responded during the meeting. She said her behavior on Sept. 9 and 10 was “inappropriate” and “unprofessional.” She apologized for her actions.

In an exclusive email correspondence with the Enquirer-Journal, James wrote: “… At this point, I want to bring closure to this situation. I’ve been serving the community for a long time, the behavior the public saw on the videos was inappropriate, unprofessional. Not the councilwoman you have seen lead prior to that. I acknowledge that was not myself that day. I sincerely apologize for any hurt my actions caused. I am committed to move forward so that I may continue to serve this City I love.

“I have put a personal action plan in place to ensure I am seeking the right health and wellness support I need to make sure I’m healthy and whole to continue my service to the Monroe community. That support includes seeking the help of trained professionals, taking much needed rest as needed, and self reflecting on my personal and professional growth as a Leader. Most importantly, I want to re-establish trust that I am ready to continue leading. There will be no further comments on this matter going forward. I am 100% focused on myself, my family, and my journey to be the Leader this City needs.”

On Sept. 9, police were called to remove James from the Fairfield Inn and Suites (1825 Williams Road) at hotel staff’s request. James was accused of disturbing the peace. Body camera footage released by Monroe Police Department shows James claiming God told her felons were in the hotel. Pointing to a guest, she claimed God spoke to her telling her the guest was a murderer.

James told Monroe Police Department Captain Rhett Bolen that he would be demoted and promoted Officer Brantley to Captain. In addition, she claimed to have fired Chief of Police Bryan Gilliard and named Sergeant Mike Isley as the new chief. As a council member, James does not have the authority to hire, fire or promote city employees except for those directly employed by the council.

Later, James was taken to Atrium Health Union for medical assistance. There, the resolution states, she “snatched a face mask off of the face of Officer Kendall Aychoth” and “told patients that COVID-19 was over.”

The resolution also states James “repeatedly breached” City Council’s Code of Ethics by refusing to isolate herself to her residence after testing positive for COVID-19. Union County Public Health Director Dennis Joyner was required to issue an isolation order on Sept. 15 that would last until Sept. 19.

“Council Member James willfully disregarded the isolation order by holding a press conference outside her residence on the street, by traveling to the Monroe Aquatics and Fitness Center to try to get a massage, and then by traveling into Downtown Monroe, specifically the United States Post Office located on South Charlotte Avenue, and other locations in Downtown, including areas near the Dowd Center Theatre located on South Main Street, and by continuing to campaign for elective office,” the resolution reads. “Council Member James, by her actions, failed to show that she understands the obligation to ‘act as the especially responsible citizens whom others can trust and respect. They should set a good example for others in the community, keeping in mind that trust and respect must continually be earned’ in disregard of the Code of Ethics.”