Mayor DeMaria holds fast to comments that Adrien was disrespectful at meeting

Mayor Carlo DeMaria appeared on GBH radio last week, Feb. 17, to defend his criticism of Councilor Gerly Adrien and his comments at a Council Committee meeting last month indicating he would like to turn off Adrien’s video for “laughing” and being what he felt was “disrespectful.”
The mayor’s segment followed appearances by Adrien on the same show, the ‘Eagan and Braude’ radio show on GBH, as well as an appearance on ‘Greater Boston’ with Jim Braude the previous week. All of that was centered on her contention that she is being treated unfairly, and that it wasn’t appropriate for the only Black woman on the Council to be singled out and told to turn off her image.
That was particularly pounded home by Adrien, and by Eagan and Braude, due to the fact that other Councilors have displayed distracting behavior such as laughing, driving, doing their finances, watching TV and sleeping over the past several months at meetings.
Mayor DeMaria appeared for about 16 minutes during the show on Feb. 17 and stood his ground, saying he felt she was disrespectful to him on the meeting and he didn’t see a need to apologize to her for that.
“Zoom is no different than having a meeting in person so when you’re having a meeting on Zoom and somebody is laughing – not smiling – but laughing and pointing at the camera and having a conversation off camera with someone – rolling her eyes – it’s distracting and disrespectful,” he said. “You don’t do that. When I’m on Zoom and someone is speaking, you sit there and pretend you’re not on a computer screen and it’s person to person. You can’t be having a conversation with other people, you can’t be pointing your finger, and you can’t be screaming at the screen when somebody’s talking. It’s rude and that’s it…It’s got nothing to do with the color of her skin and I’m appalled because this is not the first time she’s made accusations against me making me sound like someone I’m not. It’s not right.”
He also, without giving specifics, said he has e-mails send to City Hall staff from Adrien that were disrespectful and treated the staff with disdain.
Adrien responded afterward saying that the mayor had a personal agenda with her, and she felt the show highlighted his bad behavior.
“Mayor Carlo DeMaria wants to continue down this rabbit hole by attacking me, including on Boston Public Radio,” she said. “I do not know his personal agenda, but he is still not understanding that attacking the only Black woman on the City Council is not the route that leadership should take. I have questioned his stability on not letting emotions override how to lead in our city. I am glad Jim Braude was able to highlight this behavior for the public to see. Since day one, I have tried to work with him and his administration, yet I will not stand for this type of treatment.”
On the show with Margery Eagan and Braude, Mayor DeMaria indicated there was a long history between Councilor Adrien accusing him of racial problems, and he doesn’t appreciate it.
He relayed a story from many years ago when Adrien was running for state representative and asked him to endorse her. He said he told her that he couldn’t do that because he supported State Rep. Joe McGonagle and he instead advised her to run for City Council. After being elected to the City Council some years later, he said he heard that she told young people at the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University that he said a Black woman couldn’t be elected.
“She told these young people that the mayor of Everett told her that a Black person could never get elected to the Everett City Council,” he said. “I find out about that and bring in my Communications Director… and we had a meeting. She admitted I did not say that. She felt the conversation we had was that. That’s what she felt…There’s a long history here. I’ve been elected in Everett since I was 20 years old and I’m 48 now and if I was anything but a good elected official that took care of his people, I would not be in this position.”
A lot of the rest of the radio segment though centered on Eagan and Braude asking the mayor if he understood the position of Adrien, and several other Black elected officials that have supported her point of view.
“Even if you believe Councilor Adrien was being disrespectful at the time – in retrospect – do you not look at this differently and say, talk about disrespect, to say that because you don’t like the conduct of the only Black woman on the Council you suggest her image be shut down at a City Council meeting,” said Braude. “In retrospect, do you think that might be a bridge too far?”
“Let me ask you a question,” said the mayor. “I never said her name. How did she know it was her?”
“I watched it and I knew it was her in a second,” said Braude.
“It was obvious,” said Eagan.
“How did she know it was her pointing at the screen and laughing?” asked the mayor again.
Both Eagan and Braude also pressed Mayor DeMaria about his declaration that racism is a public health crisis in Everett. They asked how could he declare that and then not also honor the sentiment of Councilor Adrien on this matter.
The mayor responded by saying he has created the first Diversity and Equity Board, headed up by a diverse group of people and chaired by Bishop Robert Brown. He also said his staff has been meeting weekly with the Everett Safe and Welcoming Coalition about being more inclusive. He also mentioned the fact that the City has followed the lead of the Everett Public Schools in contracting with Lionbridge translating services for language equity at City Hall.
“These are not the actions of a backward city,” he said. “These are the actions of a progressive city that will strive to ensure equity and equality for people of all backgrounds, heritages, sexual orientations, religions, creeds and economic statuses.”
That brought up the matter of the Diversity Committee, and the mayor indicated that Adrien had been “removed.” When pressed on that, he said that the hosts should ask the members of the Committee.
“She was on that Board and she has been removed from the Board by the chairman,” he said. “You’d have to ask the chair about that. He’s a Black gentleman and a bishop in our community. He’s a long-standing prominent Black man in our community.”
Asked Braude, “You created it and she gets kicked off?”
“And you don’t know why?” asked Eagan.
“The entire Board is made up of diverse people so maybe interview the entire Board…,” he said. “I have an idea why, but you won’t like it. I guess it was a problem – a fight and no cohesiveness…”
The remaining five minutes of the broadcast was dedicated to the mayor’s stances on wearing masks, and his push to get teachers vaccinated.

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