By Josh Resnek
Councilor Mike McLaughlin castigated the mayor for challenging him physically and for his poor behavior at a committee meeting last week.
He condemned Councilor Anthony DiPierro for shutting him off from speaking at the committee hearing in a short, powerful and emotional speech which he read before the city council Monday night at city hall.
“No one should ever be physically intimidated or allowed to lunge towards another person, particularly inside the chamber where we conduct our business for the people,” he said.
Additionally, he singled out DiPierro for carrying water for the mayor and doing his dirty work.
“He grossly misused his power to shut me down from speaking in a clear effort to protect the mayor and his department heads at all cost,” he said of DiPierro, who heads the committee which conducted the hearing a week ago which led to the mayor’s bullying and harassment of McLaughlin.
At that hearing, DiPierro ordered McLaughlin to shut-up and to sit down – not in those words – by ordering a quick vote to end the hearing, before the councilor had the chance to speak, pleasing his cousin the mayor.
The mayor had come to the hearing to take down McLaughlin, instead of answering the councilor’s questions about the sketchy management of the Wellness Center.
Except for his exceedingly poor behavior and the bullying of McLaughlin, the mayor’s orchestrated effort succeeded.
However, there was a price to pay and that came Monday night while the mayor is again on vacation. McLaughlin’s speech was payback for the mayor’s extraordinary performance at the city council committee hearing a week ago, where at one point he lunged at McLaughlin and ridiculed him for asking him (the mayor) to answer questions about the chaos in the administration of the Wellness Center.
A no-show head of the center was recently fired or asked to leave for falsifying her credentials. Two other employees have allegedly been singled out for bullying and sexual harassment. At least two former employees are now considering lawsuits or have already sought legal representation claiming bullying and harassment by their superiors at the center.
The mayor denies all of this. He claims, as do his supporters, that this is personnel issue and that the city council isn’t allowed to discuss personnel issues.
This is short shrift when the city council is aware of the goings on at the center and have challenged the mayor to discuss the issue – not necessarily to discuss individuals – but rather, to discuss his administration of the center and its mismanagement.
The mayor bristles at such assertions. It is believed this is why he grew so angered that he seemed to lose it a bit lunging at McLaughlin at the meeting a week ago.
“The mayor owe’s me – and the people of Everett – an apology for such abhorrent and embarrassing behavior,” McLaughlin told his colleagues.
This prompted DiPierro to ask to speak.
He appeared a bit taken aback, flustered, which is unusual for the young councilor, who almost without exception supports the initiatives sent to the council by his cousin the mayor.
“I was protecting the city,” he told his colleagues about his actions last week in shutting down McLaughlin. He did not tell them he was protecting the mayor. He didn’t have to. All the council knows this.
He closed off McLaughlin’s right to speak last week so he could not speak about the mayor’s inept administration of the Wellness Center.
McLaughlin described the mayor’s administration of the center as all about nepotism and favoritism and using the Wellness Center as a personal employment agency for insiders and friends.
“I was lied to by McLaughlin. I had to save the city from his propaganda,” DiPierro said meekly.
That was not the end of it.
Councilor Fred Capone’s response captivated the audience and his colleagues. Capone was very much the honest lawyer and potential mayoral candidate at the meeting Monday night with remarks both measured but bold, powerful for their honesty.
“The integrity of the body is at stake. I am appalled by the mayor’s behavior, which I watched on television – and this is a sentiment shared by many others,” he added.
“It was a personal attack,” he said.
He criticized DiPierro for shutting down McLaughlin, who he said had the right to speak.
“The chair (at the committee hearing last week) was involved in a personal attack. It was wrong. We all disagree at times but each of us must maintain decorum. Our integrity and our intelligence was challenged (by the mayor’s behavior and by DiPierro’s he said).
“The council is due an apology,” he demanded.
“This should he concluded never be allowed to happen again,”