EASTON, Conn. – Two Easton residents were charged with disorderly conduct after they allegedly spoke out during a selectmen’s meeting on Dec. 6, prompting First Selectman Thomas Herrmann to call for their removal and Police Chief James Candee to escort them to the police station for booking.
John Bromer and Bert Webbe face Class C misdemeanor charges that are punishable by fines up to $500. Their court date is Dec. 21.
As Bromer and Webbe spoke during the public comments segment of the selectmen’s meeting, Herrmann labeled the comments “judgmental and accusatory” and when they continued to speak called for the men to be removed from the room.
Bromer spoke on the lack of public notice about town meetings, saying the selectmen’s meeting wasn’t posted on the town website before it started. “The first selectman is trying to eliminate the town meeting form of government and run everything himself,” Bromer said Monday night.
“I made a brief public statement and was interrupted twice,” he said. “Then I said I wanted to make another public comment and he said public comment was closed and if I don’t be quiet I’ll have you removed. Then the chief asked me to accompany him out of the room and he handed me to a sergeant to write me up for disorderly conduct.”
Webbe, who ran against Herrmann as a write-in candidate in 2011 and recently ran for treasurer in the town’s special election, discussed driveway bond deposits during the public comments period, indicating that the town is holding $378,000 that belongs to local residents. “The town is under dramatic liability so I got up there and started saying you missed the boat on this,” Webbe said Monday night.
He called Herrmann “a magnet for fraud. The town was sullied before he came on board but he was brought in to maintain the status quo. He’s a little too arrogant and doesn’t have people skills.”
Candee said the arrests at the selectmen’s meeting were the first that had occurred in the 41 years he’s been on the police force.
They disrupted the meeting,” he said. “You can have your say and there is a public comment period but in the opinion of the selectmen they got out of hand. They were clearly disruptive and I was asked to remove them.”
Bromer called the experience “an embarrassment and an insult.” Webbe said, “I’ll tell the court it was an illegal arrest and an unjustified complaint. Not once did I raise a hand or make a threatening gesture. I told them they were not fulfilling the obligations of office.”
Herrmann was unavailable for comment.