AUGUSTA — A local Girl Scout troop leader blasted city officials in a recent email for not allowing the girls to speak at a meeting on curbside recycling, prompting an apology from the mayor, who cited a misunderstanding.

Lynn Smith, a leader of Augusta-based Girl Scout Troop 2266, said Mayor David Rollins and the council should apologize to the girls, their parents and troop leaders. She said in an email to city officials that five of the 16 girls who attended the May 12 council meeting had planned to speak, had been practicing their speeches all week, and were nervous but ready to address the council on the issue of curbside recycling.

“I organized them outside and told the girls how proud I was of them for coming to City Hall to express their views in the appropriate forum and how brave they were to stand up for what they believe is right,” Smith wrote in an email to city councilors, Rollins and City Manager William Bridgeo. “I also discussed with the girls the importance of being respectful in their speeches as they would be addressing the leaders of this city. I find it unconscionable and deeply disheartening that the leaders of this city did not reciprocate and extend the courtesy and respect these youth deserved.”

Rollins said Thursday he had already reached out to the Girl Scouts, the day after the May 12 meeting, to invite them to return and have a chance to address councilors. He said he also planned to write to them to extend that offer again and express regret for what he described as “a series of unfortunate circumstances and communications breakdowns” that caused the girls to leave without having a chance to speak.

Rollins said Smith had made arrangements with him for the girls to speak at the start of the meeting. However, Rollins said Thursday as councilors discussed the incident, he had the meeting time wrong and told Smith the meeting started at 6:30 p.m. when it really started 30 minutes earlier.

The meeting started at 6 p.m., without Rollins or the scouts yet in attendance, with at-large Councilor Cecil Munson running the meeting.

The Scouting group arrived before Rollins and took seats in council chambers, as the meeting was already underway. Rollins arrived shortly thereafter and took over the role of running the meeting from Munson.

Rollins said he leaned over and asked Munson, “Did the girls speak?” to which Munson replied, “yes.” So Rollins believed, incorrectly, the girls had made their presentation.

Munson said Thursday he didn’t know the mayor had made arrangements for the Girl Scouts to speak, nor did he know the Girl Scouts were the girls to whom Rollins was referring. Munson, who said he doesn’t hear well in the ear Rollins was speaking into, said he thought Rollins was asking if any of the women on the City Council had spoken yet that evening.

“There was nothing on the agenda about Girl Scouts. I didn’t understand they were here to speak,” Munson said. “When the mayor asked, ‘Did the girls speak?’ I said yes. I didn’t mean the Girl Scouts. I meant the girls on the City Council. If you want to know who to blame, it’s me.”

At-large Councilor Dale McCormick, who has clashed with Rollins in her time on the council, suggested Thursday councilors vote to issue a resolution recognizing the Scouts should have had a chance to speak.

“They’re quite upset,” McCormick said of the Girl Scouts. “I wrote this resolution as a balm to their sensibilities.”

Smith said Friday that attending another council meeting is not possible for the Scouts because of their busy schedule and would be an exercise in futility anyway because councilors already decided on May 12 not to bring back curbside recycling.

She said Rollins should have taken more steps to make sure the girls had a chance to be heard that night.

“Respectfully, Mr. Mayor, in light of the ‘miscommunications’ noted by your own admissions about the timing of our anticipated address to the council, whispering in Councilor Munson’s ear was not enough of an effort …,” she wrote.

The Scouts left the meeting after roughly an hour because it was time for the girls to return to their parents and because it was clear they were not going to be able to address the council.