In the article, “New Buffalo OKs letter of reprimand for city manager over handgun incident,” reporter Mark Anderson included quotes made at the November 19, 2018 Council meeting by the New Buffalo mayor and three council members. The remarks appeared to be directed at posts from my blog so below are my responses to the City leadership.
“Haters are going to hate.” Council member Mark Robertson was angry at residents because they were concerned that the council was about to violate the City Charter and possibly the Open Meeting Act at a five-minute special meeting immediately before the Council’s regular meeting. The Council planned to appoint Robertson’s wife as temporary city clerk, but the Charter disqualifies spouses of elected officials to be appointed to City offices. What does it say about an elected official who angerly refers to residents as haters just because they required him to follow the law?
“You see a lot of negative things only by a few people. Some people are just negative.” Council member Mark Kroll calling constituents negative because they expressed concerns about the possibility that the Council was about to violate the City Charter and Open Meeting Act trivializes residents and their concerns through name calling.
“Ennis said that “mean statements” and “mail that’s evil and threatening” are a problem. She said unhappy or concerned citizens instead should “let us know their concerns rather than — gotcha.” Council member Ennis ignores concerns sent to her by residents and the Council refuses to include resident emails in the correspondence section of the Council’s monthly packet. It can hardly be called ‘gotcha’ when the unaddressed concerns later show up on social media and appears that Ms. Ennis would rather demonize citizens as being mean and evil instead of addressing their issues.
“O’Donnell said: “We were not going to hire Mary Robertson as our clerk. She was going to be deputy clerk for a night. The defamatory things on social media just sicken me.” Mayor Lou O’Donnell approved the Special meeting agenda to appoint Mary Robertson as temporary clerk not deputy clerk, but it wouldn’t matter, any appointment would have violated local law. Questioning his official actions is not defamation, it is a First Amendment right.