Deputy Mayor sticks to guns

But coun­cil ac­cepts blan­ket pub­lic apol­ogy and al­lows ci­ti­zen to stay

The Compass - - NEWS - BY BILL BOW­MAN

Cyril Win­sor made an ap­pear­ance at the Carbonear coun­cil meet­ing last week for the first time since Jan. 11.

That’s when Deputy Mayor Ches Ash first re­it­er­ated his call for the Bunker Hill res­i­dent to apol­o­gize to coun­cil for his be­hav­iour at a Dec. 21, 2009 coun­cil meet­ing.

Ash felt at the time that Win­sor should not be per­mit­ted to re­turn to coun­cil cham­bers un­til he apol­o­gizes to coun­cil and to Coun­cil­lor Gla­dys Mercer in par­tic­u­lar.

The deputy mayor had first called for the apol­ogy af­ter Win­sor had called Coun. Mercer “a witch” and used other un­par­lia­men­tary lan­guage in the coun­cil cham­bers be­fore storm­ing out of the Dec. 21 meet­ing.

Win­sor apol­o­gized to coun­cil at the Jan. 11 meet­ing. But as far as apol­o­giz­ing to Coun. Mercer is con­cerned, he said: “It’s not go­ing to hap­pen. I’ll apol­o­gize to coun­cil.” Re­mind­ing coun­cil, “you are one body” he felt at the time his apol­ogy to coun­cil should suf­fice.

While coun­cil did not ask Win­sor to leave the Jan. 11 coun­cil meet­ing, Dep. Mayor Ash said, “as long as he has the un­der­stand­ing his at­ten­dance (at fu­ture coun­cil meet­ings) is con­di­tional on an apol­ogy to Coun. Mercer.”

Win­sor’s at­ten­dance at last week’s (March 16) coun­cil did not go un­no­ticed by Dep. Mayor Ash. On a point of priv­i­lege, Ash told coun­cil it was still his un­der­stand­ing that Mr. Win­sor “would only be per­mit­ted to at­tend a coun­cil meet­ing upon an apol­ogy to coun­cil and in par­tic­u­lar to Coun. Mercer.”

Dep. Mayor Ash asked Mayor Sam Slade for a rul­ing on the is­sue.

Mayor Slade said as far as he was con­cerned, when Mr. Win­sor apol­o­gized to coun­cil he was also apol­o­giz­ing to Coun. Mercer, who is a mem­ber of coun­cil.

“I beg to dif­fer with you on that,” Dep. Mayor Ash re­sponded.

The mayor went on to say Mr. Win­sor’s apol­ogy had not only been made to coun­cil in cham­bers but was also car­ried “in the lo­cal news­pa­per.”

Mayor Slade re­minded coun­cil that, “when we put our names on the bal­lot...” we do so ex­pect­ing that, from time to time we are go­ing to be called names... If we got to ask every­one who says any- thing about us...for apolo­gies...we are go­ing to have a long, long line up here.

“If we can’t stand the heat, per­haps we shouldn’t be in the kitchen,” Mayor Slade sug­gested.

Point­ing out peo­ple in pub­lic ser­vice are of­ten called names, and it can be dis­turb­ing, Coun. David Kennedy felt per­haps “it re­quires more of an apol­ogy to Mrs. Mercer than to our­selves.”

Since Coun. Mercer was not present for the Jan. 11 coun­cil meet­ing, and last week was the first time the is­sue had been raised since then, it was also her first op­por­tu­nity to speak to it.

“ This is my fourth term on coun­cil and I’ve al­ways tried to be fair to every­one,” she said. While coun­cil­lors may be called many things pri­vately, Coun. Mercer said peo­ple have gen­er­ally been re­spect­ful to her in pub­lic. “Never, ever have I been called any­thing but Coun. Mercer or Mrs. Mercer.”

She thanked coun­cil for sup­port­ing the is­sue. But as far as she is con­cerned, “it’s over - what was said was said!”

Sug­gest­ing she serves her time on coun­cil “ freely,” Mercer ad­mit­ted she’s not al­ways right, but she is al­ways try­ing to do the best she can for the cit­i­zens of Carbonear.

In fact Coun. Mercer and the other mem­bers of coun­cil are paid (re­mu­ner­a­tion) for their ser­vice on coun­cil.

At this point Dep. Mayor Ash re-en­tered the de­bate. “Mr. Mayor,” he said, “this does not have (any­thing) to do with tak­ing heat or get­ting out of the kitchen. It has to do with cer­tain stan­dards and deco­rum.

Ad­mit­ting any­one can loose their cool and say things they may not mean, Ash said, “Mr. Win­sor went be­yond what were ac­cept­able stan­dards. He made in­sult­ing re­marks and used in­ap­pro­pri­ate lan­guage and we should in­sist - this cham­ber should in­sist that he apol­o­gize.”

Point­ing out that “some­times tem­pers will flare,” Mayor Slade felt con­fi­dent that if Mr. Win­sor had his time back he wouldn’t have said what he said...”

Again he re­it­er­ated that Mr. Win­sor had made his apol­ogy, not only in cham­bers ( Jan. 11) “ but also pub­licly in the lo­cal news­pa­per.” As far as Mayor Slade is con­cerned, “that should suf­fice.”

Af­ter apol­o­giz­ing to coun­cil first for his be­hav­iour at the Dec. 21, 2009 meet­ing, Win­sor ended up leav­ing the Jan. 11 meet­ing as well, ask­ing coun­cil on his way out the door: “ Why are you peo­ple al­ways ly­ing?”

Three days later he called The Com­pass want­ing to re­tract what he had said at the meet­ing. Ad­mit­ting to hav­ing called coun­cil a bunch of “ liars,” he wanted to apol­o­gize to coun­cil for his be­hav­iour.

Mayor Slade said last week coun­cil has a tough job to do “in mak­ing ra­tio­nal de­ci­sions on be­half of the town of Carbonear.”

Now serv­ing his fifth term on coun­cil, Slade said he was sure he has been called many things over those years.

“Have they done it (name call­ing) in th­ese cham­bers and in pub­lic,” Dep. Mayor Ash asked the mayor?

“I don’t think any­one has dis­re­spected you in this cham­ber like this,” Coun. Mercer in­ter­jected. “I’ve been around a long time and I haven’t heard any­one do so,” she said.

Rookie coun­cil­lor, Ed. Goff said, “we all take crit­i­cism but we shouldn’t have to take any abuse.”

Con­clud­ing she is “ fine” with the out­come, Mercer said, “ I haven’t been called any­thing worse.”

Mean­while, Cyril Win­sor re­mained for the rest of the coun­cil meet­ing without a word.

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