By Agrippina Fadel
A policy discussion led to more misbehavior on the dais at the Tamarac commission workshop on Monday.
The initiatives policy, presented by city staff, requests commission members announce their plans for any activity, event, or meeting that fosters community engagement at least four months in advance, and fill out special forms to give the staff necessary information about them.
Members of the commission shared their points of view with dialog becoming heated after a series of mutual interruptions.
Commissioner Marlon Bolton had reservations about the policy and believed that telling colleagues about future events may entice them to steal that idea.
He told a story about a women’s veterans lunch that commissioner Debra Placko and mayor Michelle Gomez were involved with, that he believed Gomez took credit for creating.
Vice Mayor Elvin Villalobos, who attended the workshop remotely, audibly laughed during his speech, prompting Bolton to say: “are you ok, vice mayor?”
Villalobos answered, “yes, I am just listening to you, and it makes me laugh.” He told Bolton he was speaking off-topic.
Bolton then asked the mayor if she was going to reprimand Villalobos.
“So, he laughed,” she said. “people laugh, and people sneeze. Do you want me to reprimand people who sneeze and laugh?”
She told Bolton he was “trying to make a scene out of nothing” and asked him to proceed.
Coming to Bolton’s rescue, Commissioner Mike Gelin interrupted with Gomez responding, “he does not need your help.”
Bolton countered, “I would like his help,” and told the mayor she was not being fair across the board.
Bolton then asked the city attorney John Herin to note the exchange.
In a later discussion about “Moving with Marlon” – Bolton’s new initiative that includes pilates, jazzercise, and other forms of exercise for residents, Gomez attempted to explain the name to a city staffer when they could not hear Bolton. Staff asked if it was “coffee with Bolton,” with the mayor answering, ” No, it’s Moving with Marlon.”
Bolton interrupted. “I can speak for myself. May I respond, madame mayor, or would you like to respond for me?”
Gomez answered, “Well, I already did, and you didn’t like it. Go for it.”
The exchange was once again interrupted by Villalobos laughing.
A few minutes later, Bolton interrupted Villalobos with a “point of information” and said, “we don’t have a mayor that is good enough to run this meeting,” accusing Gomez of silencing some commissioners but letting others speak freely.
Gomez told Bolton he was in complete violation of commission rules and acting out of line. “Just cool your jets,” she added.
Gomez called the policy discussion and all the fighting about it laughable. “Instead of trying to help our city function properly, we are trying to pick apart the rules and regulations,” she said.
After a 3-2 vote, the commission returned the policy draft to staff and will discuss it again at a future workshop.
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- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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