After councilman Larry Johnson accused the administration of "mismanagement" and Pratt talked about the violation of an ordinance involving city employee salaries, Wall blew his top. "What specific criminal activity are you alleging?" he demanded to know. "Who goes to jail? If there's illegal activity, file charges," he told the council.
The power struggle came to a head over Pratt and councilmen Johnson and Bud Caitlin's refusal to compromise over their demand that some employees' pay cuts imposed last month stand. For three hours, council members expressed confusion, anger and frustration, in equal measure to the mayor and his staff. By the end it resembled the stalemate of a brutal chess match where the pawns - the employees whose pay was made both embarrassingly public and also a subject for haggling - finally stormed out to the parking lot and expressed their rage.
"The council is after the mayor," said one. Morale had plummeted. "We've been in emotional turmoil since December," said another. It all came down, said a third, to 0.002 percent of the budget, amounting to $47,000 a majority of council members were determined to save at the expense of the city employees' mental health. "it was unbelievable, irresponsible to take up all this time," on the fight over a few salaries.
Intriguingly, Pratt had apparently included in his city employee salary proposal that council members conversely receive a pay raise of individually $7000 to $20,000. But he opened the council meeting, which was attended by TV news and print journalists, by informing those assembled that there were no plans to grant himself and his colleagues a pay raise. "It's not on the table, not even considered or propose," he said, effectively spiking the guns of several angry residents who went up to denounce the council for seemingly planning to vote themselves pay raises while cutting the salaries of employees.