Takoma Park City Attorney Thomas Gagliardo was criticized at the City Council meeting Monday night when three council members called for his dismissal, but the council voted 4 to 3 to keep him in his position.
Council members William Eckert, Joseph Faulkner and Frank Garcia asked the city clerk to put on Monday's agenda a proposal to dismiss Gagliardo. Faulkner said Gagliardo "did not seem to be able to control his temper."
Personnel matters are usually discussed in closed sessions of the council, but Faulkner said attempts to decide the matter in closed session were unsuccessful.
Councilman Louis D'Ovidio said council members had the opportunity to bring the matter up during closed sessions, and when they did, they were told to put their charges in writing, but they never did.
"I think it should have been handled in a closed meeting because it is a personnel issue," council member Carl Iddings said. "Monday's meeting was regrettable."
"I don't think it is a reason to dismiss someone for losing his temper, especially if he does the job for you," Garcia said.
"I did not question Gagliardo's professional capabilities or qualifications, but the fact that you lose control of yourself is not good," Faulkner said. He said he remembers three occasions when he saw Gagliardo lose his temper.
D'Ovidio and Iddings said bringing up the issue at Monday's meeting was an attempt to make a political issue for the city elections in November.
Iddings said Gagliardo apologized after the meeting for "intemperate comments he may have made in the heat of argument."
In other business, the council voted 5 to 2 to reduce allowable rent increases from 10 percent to 5 percent a year. The 10 percent limit, proposed in guidelines by the Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs, had been in effect for about two years, City Clerk Sibyl Pusti said.
The new guidelines prohibit rental increases in units or apartment buildings with housing code violations, Pusti said.