Wilson city council looks to move forward after arrest

Robby Short

Fallout continued this week following last week’s arrest of Wilson City Council member Craig Wainscott during a scheduled council meeting.

Wilson City Council member David Newby announced his resignation from office Tuesday morning via social media.

Wilson Mayor Frank Schaaf said the resignation was a direct result of the recent incident — that ended in an arrest — that occurred during the city council meeting adding that “he took a beating on social media over it.”

Newby joins fellow council member Ron Alexander in resigning, though Schaaf said Alexander’s decision was unrelated.

“I knew Ron’s was coming, he hasn’t been in the best of health,” Schaaf said.

The resignations — and a no-contact order with council member Craig Wainscott over the Jan. 30 arrest, according to Schaaf — now leaves the Wilson council unable to reach a quorum and therefore unable to make any major purchases or enact any ordinances, but isn’t expected to impact day-to-day operations.

“I don’t know how this is going to go down,” Schaaf said. “I am still waiting on the city attorney to tell me how to proceed. I flat out don’t know right now.”

The arrest was the result of a dispute that occurred during executive session. Schaaf said the executive session was called to discuss a personnel matter that is still yet to be resolved.

Schaaf wouldn’t commit on the individual or individuals involved or which department they served, but did confirm they were an employee(s) of the city.

According to a police report published on social media attributed to a Wilson resident named Jason Bahrens and confirmed by Schaaf, Wilson police were asked to intervene during an executive session that took place during the Jan. 30 city council meeting.

According to the report, Wilson Police Captain Josh Taylor overhear yelling and the use of profanity coming from the council chamber before being asked by the city clerk to step in and deescalate the situation.

Taylor stated in his report that upon entering the room he observed Wainscott and Schaaf standing chest to chest, with Wainscott allegedly having his hands closed while taking an aggressive stance and pushing his chest forward into Schaaf’s chest.

According to the report, Taylor attempted to separate the two when Wainscott allegedly attempted to push past Taylor to continue the confrontation while making a direct threat toward Schaaf.

Taylor’s report continues to state that while being escorted out of the council chambers, Wainscott allegedly attempted to pull away from Taylor while advising him that he was leaving before Taylor placed him under arrest.

Wainscott was arrested and transported to the Carter County Jail. He is currently facing a charge for disturbing the peace, according to court records.

Schaaf declined further comment on the subject of the executive session and would not discuss if the arrest was related to a previous incident involving Wainscott related bid contracts.

According to Schaaf, prior to the meeting, Wainscott had allegedly accused a local contractor of knowing the bid amount of an out-of-town competitor and intentionally undercutting their bid by $200,000.

The local company responded to the accusation with a letter to Schaaf — that was also released via social media — informing the city that it no longer wished to do business with councilman Wainscott. Schaaf confirmed the validity of the letter, questioning why the company would intentionally underbid a contract by $200,000 — “leaving that much money on the table” — while knowing that the lowest bid, within reason, would be the one accepted.

In the letter, Tony Schiralli, president of Schiralli Construction Corp., accused Wainscott of making slanderous allegations toward the company.

Attempts to reach Wainscott, Schiralli and the Wilson city attorney were unsuccessful.