Only five councilors attended Wednesday's meeting, which lasted only 30 minutes or so.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council again postponed a decision on an order to restrict forms of messaging from meetings as they wait for an opinion from the solicitor.
The council is expected to take up the issue at its Jan. 22 meeting.
The communication from Council President Michael Bloom reads that "no member or official or visitor shall be allowed to publicly display any form of messaging, whether lettered or graphic, on a sign, electronic device or printed article of personal clothing at a City Council meeting."
The proposal came at the first meeting resident Robert Cardimino was allowed to attend after he was served a no-trespass order keeping him from council chambers. Bloom hopes that communication will eliminate some of the antics Cardimino has done at previous meetings including holding signs and wearing T-shirts with messages written on them that criticized the council and mayor.
The order was presented in November and referred to the General Government Committee and the solicitor. On Wednesday, Councilor Keith Bona said the committee had not yet rendered an opinion because it had not heard from the solicitor. He motioned to postpone the discussion but not until after Council John Barrett III's motion to file it went without a second.
"There are more important things for the city to worry about than to wait for the city solicitor to respond on whether or not people can have signs in the chamber," Barrett said, criticizing City Solicitor John DeRosa for taking too long to render an opinion.
After failing to get a second from the four other councilors who attended the meeting, Barrett was the only one to vote against postponement. Residents attending the meeting used the open forum to speak against the rules altogether.
"Anytime you try to abridge speech, it is a mistake. A big mistake," said resident Michael Chalifoux.
Cardimino said restricting messages would be an attack on free speech and he held up copies of the U.S. Constitution and offered to provide the councilors copies.
In other business, the council rescinded and replaced an order on behalf of the Northern Berkshire Industrial Park and Development Corp. The order classifies the corporations' attorney Jeffrey Grandchamp as a "special municipal employee" to avoid conflict of interests. The council approved the order in August but Councilor Alan Marden said the language was not specific enough and needed to be revised.
Marden, a past council president, was voted to preside at Wednesday's meeting because neither Bloom nor Vice President Lisa Blackmer attended.