Mayor Philip Stoddard has apologized to Sharon McCain for an attempt to ban her from city meetings, after receiving legal advice that such decisions were limited to assemblies at which he was the presiding officer.
A letter from Stoddard delivered by police to McCain would have banned her from any city meeting as well as her entry on City Hall grounds for 30 minutes, both before and after such sessions were held.
Stoddard informed Commission members March 15 that after amending his letter on March 10, he altogether rescinded the document March 13, noting citizens cannot be banned for past behavior.
“I stand corrected,” declared Stoddard. “From this point forward we will take incidents of behavior as they come.” He thanked Vice Mayor Valerie Newman for protesting his action that would have violated McCain’s first amendment rights.
“I don’t agree with what she does,” said Newman. “I don’t agree with how she acts and most of the time, I don’t agree with what she says but I disagree with her indefinite banning. A fifth grader would know that’s against her constitutional rights.”
Quoting a scientific study on reactions to sleep deprivation, Stoddard said “It’s been a little difficult sleeping at home [since a home burglary]. I may have taken a more extreme temperament than I usually would have.”
During public remarks, McCain said she believed she and the Mayor were ‘okay now’ but referring to the letter’s delivery, said she “would like to know where in the city code it says the police department can knock on my door and try to deliver mail for five to six days? I find it an abuse of the police department for the Mayor to use them as a personal postal service.”