By a formal letter, Mayor Philip Stoddard has barred Ms. Sharon McCain from attending City Commission and other advertised city meetings, as well as her presence on City Hall grounds during their conduct.
Citing authority as presiding officer of the City Commission, under the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 2, Article 2, Section 2- 2.1 (“Rule of procedure of city commission), Mayor Stoddard said the ban of Ms. McCain would continue until authorization by a majority vote of the Commission decided otherwise.
Ms. McClain declined comment when contacted by the news March 10 after distribution of the letter to other city officials and the press on March 9.
City Attorney Laurence Feingold said barring someone from a single session was not unusual but that in his experience, “a citizen being barred from all future meetings like this is unprecedented.
Adding he “fully supports” the Mayor’s decision, Atty. Feingold characterized Ms. McCain’s actions as “vicious,” commenting that “she has libeled and slandered me.”
The Stoddard letter requested City Manager Hector Mirabile not allow Ms. McCain inside the City Hall property beginning 30 minutes before a scheduled and publicly- noticed meeting until 30 minutes after its conclusion, applying that ban to any other city property where a meeting may be held.
“I greatly regret the need for these actions, but your continued antisocial behavior has left me no other recourse to protect the rights of others to engage in jobs, elected duty, and public discourse free from insult, slander and downright harassment,” the Stoddard letter stated.
The letter said Ms. McCain “ habitually disrupts” meetings by waving, holding up signs, opening and closing newspapers and relocating herself and her belongings to put herself in the line of sight of whoever is speaking. The letter also said Ms. McCain accosts meeting-goers with”personal and offensive remarks” in hallways and on outside walkways and parking lots. “Numerous staff, elected officials and members of the public seek to exit the building by whatever egress will allow them to avoid encountering you,” the letter stated.
During a March 7 meeting, McCain allegedly made personal remarks from a seat in the Commission chambers, and when protesting after being asked to leave, she continued to make wild hand gestures through a door window, according to meeting observers. After the meeting, Stoddard said Ms. McCain’s behavior was “belligerent and demeaning” to people inside the chamber and in the hallways.
“I have asked you to be quiet or leave commission meetings and workshops so many times in the past year that I have lost count,” Stoddard’s letter stated.
The letter informs Ms. McCain that her rights and abilities as a citizen to participate in the city’s government and observe the operation of city meetings remains assured in ways other than attending in person, noting City Commission meetings and quasi-judicial boards can be watched by television or the Internet.
“If and when you have questions or observations that you feel are important to share, you may convey them in written form to the commission or board beforehand via the city clerk,” the letter advised.