Two Charged With Disorderly Conduct After Easton Meeting

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John Bromer and Bert Webbe were arrested on disorderly conduct charges at the selectmen's meeting Dec. 6. Photo Credit: John Bromer

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.

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Comments (5)

superspunky:

Perhaps we focus too much on the delivery, but the message is clear. The driveway bond issue is not resolved and it needs to be. The town needs to resolve the status of these monies. But that is just one of many projects that is not complete or resolved. Dog Pound? South Park? Bucky Stone's property? We need to address these issues and not simply kick the can down the road. People can comment all they want about what happened but why not get involved and see the process for themselves.

Chiming In:

Well, thank goodness that Mr. Bromer is embarrassed. He should be.

The freedom of speech does not allow for the disruption of meetings. And we're not talking about public comment, we're talking about subsequent agenda items. Do other citizens not have the right to have their items heard? These "gentlemen" and their (small) posse attempt to hijack Easton selectmen meetings.

If Mr. Webbe had actually managed to get more than a dozen votes and win the 1st Selectman race himself, then I guess he could talk all he wanted throughout the entire meeting.

rainmaker8:

The town has the ability to video tape these meetings and put them on public access, I highly doubt these men would have been arrested had the cameras been rolling. Easton arrested a library employee, now two citizens at a selectman meeting. We live in a democracy and you certainly should be allowed to express your point of view during public comment. The driveway bonds should have been settled. All three treasurer candidates "promissed" to address this issue immediately and still citizens wait for their money. The two men arrested are leading the charge to have monies returned to tax payers affected....now they are arrested....something is up in Easton Town Hall.

picasso:

For the record, Bromer and Webbe unduly criticised the selectmen during the public comment portion of the meeting, but that’s not why they were arrested. They both disrupted the meeting in angry outbursts as the selectmen deliberated on subsequent agenda items, even after a time-out was called by First Selectman Herrmann with the hopes of calming things down. It is amazing to me that people such as jolereed actually support bullies like Bromer and Webbe. Truly amazing!

jole' reed:

Maybe a news crew should be called to sit in on a meeting so it can be witnessed, recorded and brought to the publics' attention regarding the lack of constitutional rights regarding any town issue! Oh thats right, we would bring attention to ourselves and maybe not be voted "The Best Little Town in CT". Many times we've read "what a great man and neighbor Tom is"! He might indeed be that but his lack of business skills and running a town are at best disturbing. Maybe he should stick to just "being a good neighbor" ....shame on you Tom! If you have any expectations of furthering your political (cough cough) career you better pull up your boxers and get use to disagreement! Oh, that's right, after Googling your name, you can clearly see your not able to hang with e bug boys! How embarrassed you should be Tom! John & Bert, go REAL public with this!

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