The Everett City Council returned to an all-online format for its meeting on Monday night, and Council President Rosa DiFlorio started out the meeting by expressing regrets for what happened and what was said at the Oct. 26 meeting – a meeting that descended into chaos and had to be adjourned early.
That Oct. 26 meeting was fraught with frustration, and ended with some councilors calling for Adrien to make some tough decisions about resigning from the Council if she could not attend meetings in person. She was the only councilor not attending meetings in person and had chosen to attend online due to health concerns.
Monday’s meeting had a decidedly different tone from beginning to end, and the end came beyond midnight, with a cordial respect being practices from everyone in attendance. However, it started with Council President DiFlorio making a statement that the frustrations with technology the Council has struggled with got the best of them. She said they shouldn’t have taken out those frustrations on Councilor Adrien.
“I want to address what happened at the Council meeting on Oct. 26,” she said. “Frustrations grew throughout the meeting due to an antiquated technology infrastructure that has thrown up many obstacles in the way to us providing remote access to our meetings during the pandemic. We allowed these frustrations to get the better of us, and we took them out on one of our colleagues. During this global public health crisis, no member of this body should be made to feel they are derelict in their duties by choosing remote participation as currently allowed by the open meeting law. The health of our members, their families and all Everett residents must be our priority and paramount concern at this time.”
Adrien was on the meeting and heard the statement from DiFlorio. She said she was expecting an apology from everyone, and that the statement fell a bit short of her expectations.
“I still have not received an apology from the City Council President or other City Council members,” she said. “It shows to me that peoples’ pride is still in the way. I hope that we will be able to move forward to work on real issues for our community instead of this back and forth. I am frankly tired of it.”
Council President DiFlorio said the Council intends to address the technology problems immediately, and she said it’s time for everyone to work cooperatively and end the tension that has been present for nearly a year.
“As a body, we will respond to this in two-fold,” she said. “We must commit to doing whatever is necessary to upgrade the technology that is currently required to conduct the business of this Council during a pandemic. We must also begin anew to work together to serve the people of Everett.”