Summerfield town hall (horizontal)

SUMMERFIELD — For a couple of days, it seemed that former Summerfield Town Councilman Todd Rotruck had put his grievances with Summerfield officials behind him.

But at a public meeting Tuesday night, he leveled charges, personal and political, against sitting council members and town staffers.

Rotruck was elected to the Summerfield Town Council in 2017 only to be removed from the board by his fellow council members in April of 2018. The Guilford County Board of Elections had just ruled that Rotruck did not live in Summerfield in the 30 days prior to the May 2018 primary and was ineligible to vote in Summerfield.

On Monday, Rotruck said he was dropping legal measures to regain his seat after more than a year of appealing the elections board’s ruling.

But at the monthly town council meeting Tuesday, Rotruck spoke during the public comment period, saying members of the council are guilty of “nullifying” his election and being part of a broader group of residents that worked to remove him.

He said one member, Reece Walker, met in secret with town officials and Janelle Robinson, the woman who made the complaint against Rotruck, days before the Board of Elections hearing.

He said the members running for re-election — Walker and John O’Day — should be held accountable in November.

Rotruck charged that Walker, O’Day and Council Member Dena Barnes, who is not running for re-election, used private emails to conduct town business in violation of public records laws and excluding Mayor Gail Dunham and Council Member Teresa Pegram.

He briefly re-argued his case for retaining his seat, saying he lived in his Summerfield house “before, during and after the election” and only moved out during renovations. And he said he was the victim of “a group of political opponents against a lone Democrat.”

O’Day, Walker, Barnes and other town officials “tarnished the reputation of this town,” he said.

Robinson later took the podium and said she was not part of any conspiracy to remove Rotruck from the council. She said that in early 2018 she noticed his house on Strawberry Road was unoccupied and felt something wasn’t right. So she took her challenge to the board of elections.

“There was nothing more to it than pure ethics,” she said.

She said she never held a secret meeting at Summerfield Town Hall, but merely dropped by one day to introduce herself.

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Contact Richard M. Barron at 336-373-7371 and follow @BarronBizNR on Twitter.

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