Tempers flare as Councilors clash over procedures

Adrien complains about being mistreated by President DiFlorio


Councilor at Large Gerly Adrien and Council President Rosa DiFlorio traded barbs with one another Monday night in a rare example of a newcomer challenging the rule of the old order at city hall.

At times, the exchanges between Adrien and DiFlorio got heated, and by some accounts, ugly, between the two who are essentially rivals.

Adrien is the newcomer on the block.

DiFlorio represents the old line.

Most of the city councilors sat quietly with little to nothing to say as the two councilors went at it. It was one of those ironic moments when the future clashed with the vestiges of the past, when Adrien’s voice could not be silenced by DiFlorio – with none of their colleagues standing up for either of them.

The fireworks began when Adrien sensed that DiFlorio was growing short tempered with her many council motions questioning police standards and skirting the many issues arising from the protests about racism and police brutality and violence all over the nation and of their relationship to Everett for the largely minority population residing in the city.

DiFlorio, several times, tried to cut short Adrien’s comments.

She appeared visibly bothered by Adrien’s effrontery at asking so many questions with so many motions, many of which DiFlorio seemed disturbed about.

It all didn’t seem to matter very much until Adrien explained her position once again about questioning about what is happening in the public schools – only to be told by DiFlorio that she should basically be minding her own business and pay attention to council business.

Adrien went ballistic on DiFlorio.

In so many words, this is what she said:

“Don’t tell me I can’t want to know or shouldn’t care enough to know what’s going on with students most of whom are minority students. I want to know who is going to be left behind and what the plan is. I have that right. You can all sit here and be quiet, but I won’t,” she said.

DiFlorio responded by trying to cut her off.

“Don’t cut me off. You cut me off all the time. I have the floor. I have the right to speak. You treat me differently than everyone else on this council,” she complained.

Only Councilor at Large Wayne Matewsky among his colleagues came to Adrien’s defense.

Matewsky said there are real questions about what is going on with teaching, and especially virtual teaching.

“I heard one teacher said only 14 out of 50 students were doing their homework online,” said Matewsky. “If that is the case, Councilor Adrien should ask to speak before the School Committee and to ask the questions she has. It is relevant,” Matewsky reasoned.

The final outburst between Adrien and DiFlorio gives credence that the last rant is usually the best rant.

DiFlorio was praising nearly everyone except Adrien for their great efforts at working to feed the needy during the virus crisis.

‘Are you going to mention the work I did?” Adrien asked her angrily.

DiFlorio responded by trying to cut her off.

“I’m speaking. You can’t cut me off. Don’t cut me off. I have the right to speak. You cut me off all the time. You don’t cut off anyone else,” she complained.

DiFlorio took the heat, so to speak.

“I demand to be treated with respect by you,” she retorted.

The final straw was DiFlorio’s charge to Adrien’s revelation that she had personally raised $2,000 to be given away to the needy.

“That’s a conflict of interest violation,” she shouted at Adrien. “You can’t do that.”

Adrien shot back.

“I cleared it with the Ethics Commission before I raised the money,” she shot back.

“I want an apology, an official apology from you for claiming I am in conflict of interest.”

That apology never came.

The meeting went on and on, as they tend to do.

Then as it started, it blessedly ended, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

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