Been lately to a Boone Town Council meeting, virtually or, pre-COVID-19, in person?

We didn’t think so.

And why would you? To witness bloated meetings that, at best, end by 10 p.m., or at worst, ring through the early hours of the next day with a sideshow lack of decorum and leadership, and too often, a display of bullying behavior?

To be fair, Boone Town Council members labor hard, and the amount of work they must process on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis can be staggering. But this can be said of the leadership of any municipality. The work of governing is difficult, time-consuming and often thankless.

The increasing issue with the Boone Town Council is that their meetings need not be so onerous — and inconsiderate to its own members and the public — if our mayor would step up to a leadership role and apply the rules of order that are embedded in town code.

These rules are not complicated or abstract concepts. Indeed, most of us would recognize them from our childhood: speak when it’s your turn and you have permission, keep your comments to a time limit in consideration of everyone else who wants to speak and don’t make personal attacks against another speaker, among those.

Consistently, these and other rules are vacated during town meetings because Mayor Rennie Brantz will not enforce them, as is his right and responsibility. And just as consistently, that lack of enforcement leads to a flouting of those rules by one council member in particular, Sam Furgiuele.

For years, beginning with his time as town attorney and now as council member, we have witnessed Furgiuele monopolize and hijack town meetings to the detriment of productivity, his fellow council members and taxpayers — in terms of unnecessary staff time.

Of course, at times any council member can overstep bounds. But, when Furgiuele’s passion for town business is on full display, he can be condescending, bullying and theatrical to the point that little actual governing can take place.

Under Robert’s Rules of Order, the manual which boards have adopted and used since 1876, and by which town council is similarly guided, such behavior is disallowed.

Brantz has the responsibility as mayor, within town code, to enforce these rules uniformly and consistently. This is not happening today. To continue on the current path will lead to an increasingly demoralized board, and more importantly, a demoralized public.

Our town has a written code of ethics, which in part state that “town council members should set a good example for the community.”

We urge our mayor to take back his authority and not only lead, but take the lead on that example.

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(7) comments

The article is a very timely and accurate comment on the sad state of the Boone Town Council. I listened to the infamous May 21 (which was five hours wasted) but the main takeaway from that meeting was that Sam F could and would say anything he wanted and nobody was going to disagree with him. If he wanted to say "no Jews in Boone after Sundown" then the rest of that crowd would vote with him (with the notable exception of Ms. LaPlaca. She clearly disagreed with him, but in the face of knowing that he had the votes, she didn't spend much breath arguing about it). As the article mentions, the mayor probably spoke about 2 minutes over the course of 4 hours. It was Sam's meeting, and Sam's proclamation. And, boom, less than 24 hours later a judge renders it moot. Then (another boom) 48 hours later everybody reverses course. Pretty embarrassing- for probably everybody but Sam. He's just mad.

This is not the way a functional Town Council functions. There needs to be leadership from everybody. Except Sam OMG.

Call me ishmael

Our is the Democrat's editorial staff. Your is the public at large.

Call me ishmael

Our is the Democrat Editors as any thinking person can see from reading previous posts. Your is the public views that are posted.

Pam Williamson

I do not understand why you refused to post my earlier comment, saying it is "Spam." Which it wasn't.

Pam Williamson

Wow. What a hit piece. As a matter of fact I do attend a lot of the meetings. When I don't, I watch the archived videos. At the risk of being attacked by your paper in an unnamed opinion piece, I would like to praise Brantz’s long service and fairness in allowing everybody, including members of the public as well as Council members, to be heard. And the fact of the matter is with rare exceptions, the only Council member who puts on any agenda items whatsoever is Furgiuele. Two of the Council members, from what I can tell, have never put on a single action agenda item. Maybe that's why Furgiuele, unlike any other Council members, asks so many questions. And I have not once seen a meeting where every Council member wasn't allowed to ask any and all questions they want to. I appreciate both Furgiuele's questions and his agenda items, which have included so many things that mean so much to those of us who live in Town. And while he does get frustrated at times, he's not the only one. So I am left wondering two things: (1) Why don't you do a piece on who has brought up what agenda items to be considered? That one thing demonstrates what's really important to Boone residents and might offer more insight than this editorial. (2) Why didn't you sign this opinion piece so we can know who you are? I mean, I take knocks for calling out elected officials from time to time too, but I always have the balls to sign my name.

Call me ishmael

Actually, it is signed. It says "Our View" This mwans it is an editorial by the Democrat.

Pam Williamson

Actually, who is "our"?

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