Council Divided Over Public Participation

The public participation portion of the City Council meeting on Monday night turned out to be a major test for Council President John Hanlon both to keep order at the meeting to process city business and to adhere to the council’s rules.

Hanlon pointed out to the nine members of the public who wanted to speak at the meeting that the rules of the council permit a total of 10 minutes for public participation.

After the first two speakers addressed the council for more than 10 minutes combined, Hanlon announced that the public participation part of the meeting was closed.

However, the speakers who had not addressed the council did not go quietly into the night.

Councillor Stephanie Smith noted, “I am not in favor of closing public participation.”

Hanlon then called for a 10-minute recess saying, “The 10 minutes is up and it is over.”

Returning from recess, Hanlon tried to move forward with council business, but was unable to bring order to the meeting. Ultimately, after proceeding with two matters on the council’s agenda, Hanlon called for another 10 minute recess saying, “I am not going to put up with this.”

Upon returning from the second recess, Hanlon seemed to backtrack and allowed the remaining speakers to address the council.  Many of the speakers who then addressed the council reiterated the same areas of concern that they previously had raised in past council meetings.

The topics ranged from asking Ward 3 Councillor Anthony DiPierro to step down over the issue of racist memes he had forwarded to others, to the mayor’s longevity pay, to homeless persons in the area of Ferry Street and Broadway, and to potholes in the streets.

One of the speakers included Sandy Juliano, a local real estate broker and former resident, who said, “I am vested in the community. I do not sleep here and so I don’t vote here, but people want answers.”

Despite Hanlon’s admonition that he will follow the rules going forward, it is almost guaranteed that many of the same people will be at the next City Council meeting and will speak on the same issues in two weeks.

In other business before the council, the following appointments submitted by Mayor Carlo DeMaria were approved:

An order recommending confirmation of the appointment of the following individuals to the Everett Fire Department:  Brian Ramunno, Michael Doyon, Jessie King, Jonathan Menendez, Patrick Neary, and Ian Tweeddale;

An order recommending confirmation of the reappointment of Jon Norton to the Conservation Commission for a term of three years expiring April 1, 2025;

An order recommending confirmation of the re-appointment of Rita Hashem to the Conservation Commission for a term of three years expiring April 1, 2025;

An order recommending confirmation of the reappointment of Maeve Kernan to the Conservation Commission for a term of two years expiring April 1, 2024;

An order recommending confirmation of the reappointment of Eamon Kernan to the Conservation Commission for a term of two years expiring April 1, 2024; and

An order recommending confirmation of the reappointment of Daryl Colson to the Conservation Commission for a term of one year expiring April 1, 2023.

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