EVERETT, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Everett City Council President is opening up to WBZ NewsRadio about calls for its first black female member to resign.
Everett City Councilor Gerly Adrien is the only member who attends meetings remotely through Zoom because she lives with her father, who is high-risk for Covid-19.
After some technical issues that prevented Adrien from being heard during a part of a meeting in late October, she said some of her colleagues demanded that she attend in-person meetings, with some reportedly calling for her to step down.
But Council President Rosa Diflorio said that is not the only issue at play.
Diflorio said Adrien has called her names and yelled at her during meetings, behavior that she finds "disrespectful."
"It doesn't matter what color race or where you come from," she said. "If you're disrespectful, you're disrespectful."
But Adrien said it's Diflorio who has treated her differently, not the other way around.
"I have always thought I've been respectful towards her," Adrien said. "She says I'm a trouble maker, during the council meetings she interrupts me, she doesn't let me have the floor, where we're supposed to follow the Roberts rules."
Adrien said that she believes some of her colleagues have personal issues with her being on the council.
"They do not like my style or my ideas, or who I represent for the community," she said. "And I think its more about their fear of the power shifting."
After reports of some councilors calling for Adrien to step down, Council President Difloria said — she is "absolutely not" calling for Adrien to resign.
"One of the counselors says if you cant perform your duties you should resign," Diflorio said. "But he didn't mean it just towards her, he meant it towards any councilor."
Diflorio added that after seeing photos of Adrien attending an outdoor rally during Joe Kennedy III's senate run, she doesn't understand why Adrien cannot attend in-person meetings.
However Adrien said the two scenarios are much different in terms of Covid-19 risks.
"In the council chambers for four hours where there are more than six members not wearing masks," she said. "[There are] no windows open and the door is not open, there's no air circulating in there."
Diflorio said she is going to the Everett City Hall on Monday, to figure out how Adrien can attend the meetings remotely in the future, without technical glitches. She recommends that anyone with a potential IT solution reach out to her office.
"We need to all get along and stop this," she said. "This is about doing our jobs for the citizens of Everett."
Meanwhile, Adrien said she will continue to do her work on the council.
WBZ NewsRadio's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) reports: