North Adams Council Meeting Ends In Shouting MatchBy Tammy Daniels
11:25PM / Tuesday, June 12, 2012
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Tuesday's City Council meeting ended in acrimony councilors moved to adjourn during another tirade by resident Robert Cardimino.
The frequent gadfly used the open forum at the end of the meeting to launch an attack on Councilor Marie Harpin, claiming she was delinquent on her taxes and complaining that board members were still getting health insurance.
When President Michael Bloom attempted to gavel him out of order and told him to sit down, Cardimino shouted variations on "you can't stop my free speech."
Councilor Jennifer Breen Kirsch moved to adjourn, followed with a second by Councilor Lisa Blackmer. That only set up an outcry from the several regulars at the meeting who wanted to speak; they then directed their grievances to the councilors nearest them.
A cleary angry and upset Harpin engaged in a shouting match with Cardimino, pointing her finger at him declaring, "My taxes are paid seven days after I get my bill!"
Cardimino has made a habit of making personal attacks on city officials, including on his cable access show, and disrupting meetings. The council approved a new rules of order earlier this year limiting the amount of time visitors can speak in an attempt keep the meetings civil.
However, the elderly Cardimino has continued to test the council's patience with antics, polemics and signs, and has threatened numerous times to file complaints with the attorney general's office over what he says is a limit on his constitutional rights. He said he has a letter from the attorney general finding on his behalf. (Editor's Note: He has also threatened to file a court complaint against iBerkshires for recording him swearing during a meeting.)
He's been removed once from the council chambers by a police officer and an officer has been asked to stand in the council room a few times. One of the councilors called police on Tuesday night but he left before they arrived.
During Tuesday's meeting, he was sighing, throwing his hands up in the air and making noises while another citizen was commenting on an agenda item.