BLACK DIAMOND, Wash. -- Three Black Diamond city council members were censured at a meeting Thursday, after months of acrimony with the mayor and not showing up for several recent board meetings as required by law.

The censure warned council members Pat Pepper, Brian Weber and Erika Morgan, who were in attendance, to "cease and desist violating the law".

After an executive session, the three members left and the meeting ended soon afterwards.

Pepper, Weber and Morgan have been engaged in a dispute with Mayor Carol Benson since the beginning of the year, challenging her duties and attempting to change how city government operates.

"Change is difficult," said Pepper before Thursday's council meeting, "It's hard to come to this with things you've always done, and find out there's another way of doing it.

"The things the council would like to work on," continued Pepper, "Aren't on the agenda."

Much of the divide stems from the Oakpointe development, a pair of large projects planned around the city that would add five times the population to the area.

Mayor Benson, who ran with support from the Save Black Diamond group which opposed the project, said little can be done legally to stop the project. At this point, she said, the fight has morphed into something else.

"They're not trying to stop the development," said Benson, "They're trying to stop city business."

By not showing up for meetings, the council frequently does not have enough members to vote on ordinances, grants and other buisness.

"You just can't talk to them" added Benson, "There is no reasoning with them. One of them has to go."