Public speaks against treatment of councilor

At Edgewood’s town council meeting last week, members of the public, including a town councilor’s husband, spoke out about how she was spoken to in open session in December.

At the town council meeting Dec. 19, both Mayor John Bassett and councilor John Abrams took issue with councilor Sherry Abraham’s contact with the state’s Environment Department about violations of the town sewer.

At that meeting, both men were catcalled by audience members who felt they had spoken out of turn.

At its Jan. 9 meeting, that continued, with councilor Audrey Jaramillo and members of the public speaking to the issue, including a statement by Louis Abraham.

Describing “childish, early preschool antics” on Dec. 19, he added, “I think you owe the citizens of Edgewood and councilor Abraham a public apology for your deplorable actions at the last town meeting. You’re not fit for duty. What are you afraid of councilor Abraham uncovering while she does her sworn duties to protect the public’s interest?”

He concluded, “You’re all an embarrassment to the office you hold and all three of you should resign. Citizens of Edgewood, beware.”

“But councilor Abrams, I do have comments for you,” Jaramillo said, adding, “You’re the most senior member on this council. I’ve been shocked for the third time now by your condescending tone and your attempts to control Councilor Abraham through anger, through yelling, shaking your finger, telling people to cease and desist and making threats about what other actions you will take are abusive tactics.”

She continued, “This really does create and atmosphere where people do not feel safe—your behavior was frightening. … I kind of wonder, would you have been speaking that way to another man? … Councilor Abraham is a strong woman, who is valuable. She is your equal. She does not deserve that treatment.”

Bryce Simons said Bassett “decided to throw a temper tantrum and try to bully her into submission through your diatribe at the December meeting” and said his comments could have been made in one or two statements.

Sherry Abraham said she is asking again for a timeline for rectification of the wastewater violations, for budget sources, for a monthly report on the wastewater treatment facility showing income and expenses of the system, among other things.

She said the Dec. 19 meeting could leave the public with only two ideas about the town council: “that we are power-driven bullies” or there is “corruption and we are not willing to be transparent.” Sherry Abraham added, “The public is watching us, as they should.”

“Councilor Abraham, I would very much like to apologize for losing my temper, however I find it very, very difficult not to lose my temper when I feel very strongly about things that are going on in our community, and how things are going on. It is not a problem that I see with doing diligence and finding things out. That’s our job. We are the stewards of the public’s monies. … I will leave it at that, but please accept my apology for my anger.”