The last City Manager “listening” session is tonight:
Wednesday, March 19, 6:00 pm
American Legion Post 201 (East Side)
326 Plantation Street
Full disclosure: I have not attended any of these sessions because I care about my sanity more than I care about appearing at a public meeting.
And I was out of town for the last meeting, but I have watched the video.
Within the first ten minutes of the meeting, there was one speaker (Jerry Powers) who spoke eloquently about the impacts of stormwater in general and a private road (adjacent to Coes Pond) in particular.
What were relatively benign comments about the process for private street conversion — that is, that opposition is given a lot of weight even with environmental concerns — turned into a full-on rant from Councilor Palmieri.
Now, perhaps my respect and admiration for Mr. Powers and his work is clouding my judgment, but no citizen deserves to be berated by Phil Palmieri after offering thoughtful comments.
This wasn’t a yahoo trying to disrupt the process. This was a citizen giving an elected official what the elected official asked for.
What perhaps hurts me the most — as it hurt me during the slots parlor hearings — is when people I love attend these meetings and have to see the utter disregard some elected officials have for the process and the people they’re supposed to represent. I’m glad to see people like my former teacher Amy West showing up and speaking truth to power, and it’s so frustrating that people like her are treated so shabbily.
I recommend especially watching the video around the 45 minute mark, where Bill Bernhardt speaks for all of us in telling Councilor Palmieri to listen and not interject his own comments after every speaker. Palmieri said that, as chair, he has the right to ask questions of the speakers.
Councilor Palmieri must be the only person capable of making a question that ends in a period and requires no reply.
It’s not about information gathering, it’s about having the last word.
And the last time I checked, these sessions were supposed to be about what we want in a city manager, not who we want.