By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—School Committeeman Tim Sullivan let his feet do the talking when he, his longtime girlfriend Debbie Dineen, and Councilor-at-large Jass Stewart walked out of a fiery Brockton Democratic City Committee meeting initiated by Chairman Steve Foote to vote if the trio should be removed from the committee for publicly supporting Republican candidates during last November’s elections.
“Steve Foote should be removed” Sullivan shouted walking towards the door of the Red Cafeteria at Brockton High School Wednesday night.
When the three left the meeting following a comment about Sullivan and Dineen's personal life, the only thing that was clear to the 55-60 members who attended was that nothing was clear-especially the rules, regulations, bylaws and procedures of the Brockton Democratic City Committee.
A vote—yes or no—to remove the trio never took place and Foote’s assertion Sullivan, Stewart and Dineen had been suspended as of an Executive Board meeting in January was hotly disputed by many members.
“I don’t know what the hell happens now,” City Committee member and Ward 2 City Councilor Thomas Monahan said after the meeting.
Many members said the meeting was “out of control.”
Many like Jay Cohen said they wished a vote was taken because many believed those who did not want to remove the three would have the necessary votes to prevent a two-thirds vote to oust by members who may agree Sullivan, Stewart and Dineen broke the committee’s rules.
Allyne Pecevich, a longtime member of the City Committee and the State Committee during the meeting apologized to observers and visitors who were seated at a table and separated from the voting members of the committee. She said she was humiliated by the proceedings.
After the meeting Pecevich said because no votes were taken and so many aspects of the rules, bylaws and procedures have gone unanswered she expects more to come.
“Is it over? I hope it is, but I wouldn’t count on it,” she said.
From the opening gavel—which Chairman Steve Foote used often and loudly—to the closing gavel the meeting was punctuated by calls for Points of Order and numerous questions over parliamentary procedure which Foote said would be governed by Robert’s Rules—a set of guidelines for holding meetings and hearings used daily by the many city councilors, school committee members, and lawyers who comprise the City Committee .
In a heavy-handed manner, Foote overruled any questions about procedure, including an opening motion to begin discussion of the removal Sullivan, Stewart and Dineen.
When Foote’s rulings were challenged, Councilor-at-large Thomas Brophy—who is the City Committee’s parliamentarian or legal expert —was asked by Foote if the challenge was valid.
Brophy said it was, but Foote overruled Brophy.
Brophy then said since Foote wasn’t going to take his advice, he would no longer act as parliamentarian and walked away from the head table where Foote and other members of the Executive Board were sitting and took a place several tables away.
Ward 1 City Councilor Tim Cruise from the beginning of the meeting to the end continually noted proper motions for action were not taken.
Several times the normally mild-mannered Cruise vociferously argued Foote was not following proper procedure.
“If you’re going to hold a kangaroo court, you’re going to get my Irish up,” Cruise said after the meeting. “Steve’s heart is in the right place, but his inexperience showed,” he said.
TAKE A LOOK FOR YOURSELF. THE FOLLOWING IS A VIDEO OF NEARLY ALL OF THE MEETING. ABOUT A MINUTE OR TWO NEAR THE BEGINNING WAS NOT RECORDED, OTHERWISE IT IS THE MEETING START TO FINISH.
BECAUSE YOUTUBE CAN ONLY TAKE VIDEOS THAT ARE 15 MINUTES OR SHORTER, WE HAD TO BREAK UP THE VIDEO INTO THREE PARTS.
PART I--OPENING GAVEL SLAMS DOWN
PART II--DEBBIE DINEEN DEFENDS HERSELF
PART III--TRIO WALKS OUT