MUNCIE -- Two candidates for Muncie City Council have been banned from future city council meetings after one used what some perceived to be racial phrase and the other suggested tarring and feathering some current council members.
Both comments came late in Monday's City Council meeting as the men at separate times stood at a lectern in front of the council.
Jerry Fowler, who is white, addressed councilman Monte Murphy, an African American firefighter, as "black bat" when Murphy volunteered to answer Fowler's question about a firefighter retirement plan.
Fowler is an independent challenger to the District 1 seat, currently occupied by Democrat Sam Marshall.
"I've experienced this before," Murphy told The Star Press on Tuesday. "It's something you just deal with."
On Tuesday, City Council President Bill Shroyer, a Democrat, announced that Fowler and Basil Davis Sr., who suggested some members be tarred and feathered, would be banned from city council meetings for as long as Shroyer is president.
"I'm outraged at their behavior," Shroyer said.
Shroyer lost his bid for re-election in the May Democratic primary, and his last meeting will be Jan. 7.
Davis is a Republican candidate for one of three at-large City Council seats this November and is a veteran tax remonstrator who has attended hundreds of local government meetings since 1983.
City Council attorney Joe Hunter said Tuesday he would research whether Shroyer had the legal authority to keep Fowler and Davis from the meetings.
Research? Are you kidding me?!? YOU CANNOT BAN CITIZENS FROM MEETINGS! Where do these guys come up with stuff? Of course don't expect any help from the Public Access Counselor as she doesn't seem to be too interested in advocating for open government. Maybe they can bring Fort Wayne City Attorney Tim Manges on as a consultant to distort the facts for them. This is why we need advocates for open government - this blatant violation of state law cannot and should not be tolerated.
Government at all levels has not adjusted to the information age. They're used to being able to operate in semi-secrecy where only a few non-apathetic voters were there to challenge them. That day is over and if you don't like it then you had better get out of government. In the meantime I would suggest these two men in Muncie become members (as I am) of the Indiana Coalition for Open Government. The more people we rally for the cause the more likely we are to make a difference...
H/T: Mitch Harper