In ongoing strife and division at the city government level in Durant continues, City Manager Tim Rundel issued a “Cease and Desist” letter to City Councilwoman Oden Grube on Tuesday.
That letter was made public on social media today, against the wishes of Rundel.
Before being elected to the council position, Grube created a social media Facebook “Group” to address things she felt were a problem in Durant City government.
A Facebook member must make a request to join her closed group, and be approved by an administrator.
She stepped aside from that group, appointed her son, Jimmy Grube as administrator, and continues to serve as Durant City councilwoman.
That account will continue to be attached to her personal Facebook account in perpetuity, regardless of who is the administrator.
It is how the social media platform has been set up, since it’s inception.
The group Oden Grube founded, CRAMM, Concerned Citizens Against Misrepresentation and Mismanagement has 3,000 members currently.
Oden Grube continues to use the group as her platform for reforming city government.
In his letter to Grube, Rundel said, “Attached is a Cease and Desist from harassment and a hostile work environment. I would request that we keep this confidential at this time. I do not feel it would be beneficial at this time to air this out in a public forum (especially on social media), Respectfully, Tim Rundel.”
Thursday afternoon Grube posted the entire letter from Rundel on Facebook in her closed group CRAMM.
Grube said Thursday when contacted by phone, “I stepped aside from being an administrator on CRAMM several months ago. I was not wanted on the council because I’m not one of the ‘Good ol’ Boys.’ I can’t put people in or take them out of the group.”
Rundel said in his letter that, “actions including but not limited to coordinated harassment/cyber attacks by you as administrator of the CRAMM Facebook page have become unbearable. You are ORDERED TO STOP such activities immediately as they are being done in violation of the law.”
When asked about posting the letter that Rundel specifically asked her not to post publicly, Grube said, “I don’t take orders from Tim Rundel. The email he sent was absolutely absurd. Everything I did was under advice and consent of my attorney Robert Morgan of Oklahoma City. Of course, this is a violation of my first amendment rights.”
In his letter, Rundel further states: “Recently it was discovered (via workplace internal affairs investigation) that you and your son Jimmy Grube, were actively involved in recruiting city employees to create fake Facebook profiles with the sole intent of posting viscous lies and crude remarks about me, other members of the City Council (even their spouses) and other city employees.”
Facebook allows the administrator of groups they form, to police their group to keep order.
Rundel said in his letter to Grube, “While most legitimate ‘community’ oriented Facebook pages block fake Facebook page accounts, you and your son actively coordinated/recruited/fostered these fake accounts to post hurtful lies, attempts to humiliate me and to assassinate the character of good people who did not line up with your personal agenda as a newly elected council member.”
Rundel said in his investigation, there is proof of this wrongdoing, but many things can’t be publicly divulged because it’s part of an internal investigation.
He continued in his letter, “Administration has a confession of a current city employee who admitted to creating a fake profile, (AKA Canov Worms), on Facebook via his supervisor (who coordinated the fake profile acceptance on your CRAMM page) with the sole intent of posting negative remarks about several city officials. It was also discovered that a former city employee also created a fake profile (AKA Robert Carlton) that he accessed from his city issued computer and illegally uploaded a confidential email from the City of Auburn, California, to your CRAMM page. His actions (via your assistance) violated the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act. This activity on a city computer has been verified by a certified computer forensic investigator. I found it most alarming that when these computers were seized at the Public Works facility on September 22, 2017 (as a part of an internal affairs investigation) you made comments that it was wrong of me to confiscate the computers without giving the employees any notice.”
Rundel further states that Grube’s Facebook page is against him.
He said in the letter, “In fact, it is well known that your CRAMM Facebook page often deletes any remarks or posts that do not align with your views. Your page also removes members of the CRAMM Facebook page for being supportive of my administration and other council members. Therefore you have the ability to remove all remarks made about me and my family from your CRAMM page.
Grube said, “I think it’s absurd that I take every comment that was said about him off. I’ve never said anything derogatory about the man. I don’t do that. I’m very careful about that with people.”
Grube said she’s been a victim of public slander too.
She said, “I heard things about me during the campaign. I just figured it was part of running for public office. There were much worse things said about me. I felt like I was man enough to keep my mouth shut, suck it up and go on. They don’t know where I come from, who I am. They think I’m just some stupid woman.”
Rundel said Thursday, “I am disappointed that Council Member Grube has decided to take a sensitive matter in which I requested to remain confidential (until a remedy could be reached by both parties) into the public arena.”
He said these events have caused him grief, “The last six months have been excruciatingly painful for me, my family, and my staff here at City Hall.”
Rundel said he understands that public criticism and accepting that, is part of the job.
He said he understands his decisions as City Manager might not be agreeable with everyone and he knows that is just part of the job.
He said, “However, when the attacks become repeatedly personal and vindictive in nature, that’s when I have to say ‘enough is enough.’ The orchestrated attacks and aggression that I’ve faced over the past six months are unwarranted and getting to the point of being dangerous. When it started involving my family – the gloves came off.”
Grube said she is justified and has done nothing wrong and holds no ill will against other council members.
She said, “I feel I’m doing what’s right. I would hope the other council members are too.”
She said she can’t speak about other council members, “All I can say is, I vote for what I feel like is best for the citizens and this city. When I vote, I vote my conscience and I vote for what’s best for this city. “
Durant is becoming divided politically and socially, judging by comments on social media, made by citizens.
Grube said about that division, “I don’t like it. Look at our country, it’s divided and I don’t like it. I hope that someday that there can be a happy medium reached.”
Rundel’s statement further outlined a private incident from his family’s past that is now public in Durant.
He said, “A post of Council Member Grube’s Facebook page that involved an incident in 2002 in which our home was burglarized by a neighborhood teenage boy (who had become obsessed with my wife) crossed the line. My wife and 9-year- old daughter at the time, were both traumatized by this disturbing burglary and invasion.”
Rundel said they had to move across town and that seeing those details brought to Durant was upsetting for him and his family.
He said, “Having to call my now 24-year-old daughter and tell her this very private and painful experience in our family was now a hot topic on Council Member Grube’s ‘community oriented’ Facebook page was a phone call that I never imagined I would have to make. To foster and encourage this type of harassment by Council Member Grube’s Facebook page is unconscionable. The cyber bullying and harassment needs to end now.”
In a surprising move, late Thursday afternoon Grube posted in CRAMM, “Mayor Jerry Tomlinson removed me from the Durant Industrial Authority Board.”
Tomlinson had previously appointed Grube to the position on the DIA and she supported his being made Mayor of Durant again.
Contact Dan Pennington at (580) 634-2162 or email@example.com