Barrington council: No further action on harassment complaints

Councilor Brier wanted to invite Michael Carroll and Kate Weymouth to apologize publicly

By Josh Bickford
Posted 1/12/21

The Barrington Town Council voted Monday night to take no further action on harassment complaints filed against a current member of the council and one former member.

During its meeting on Monday …

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Barrington council: No further action on harassment complaints

Councilor Brier wanted to invite Michael Carroll and Kate Weymouth to apologize publicly

Posted

The Barrington Town Council voted Monday night to take no further action on harassment complaints filed against a current member of the council and one former member.

During its meeting on Monday night, Jan. 11, the newly comprised council hosted a lengthy discussion about the harassment complaints which were filed last year against current council president Michael Carroll and former councilor Kate Weymouth.

The discussion afforded Mariana Silva-Buck, Katherine Quinn and others the opportunity to discuss the complaints which allege that Ms. Weymouth "called out" Ms. Silva-Buck for not supporting Ms. Weymouth’s proposed Listening Project: “The singling out of a person of color for not behaving or responding in a way that is expected by a white person in a position of power is discriminatory, offensive, and hurtful," stated the complaint.

The complaint also alleged that Mr. Carroll "used his position of power to harassingly silence and gaslight Ms. Quinn, who was trying to advocate for Ms. Silva-Buck…"

Barrington Town Solicitor Michael Ursillo offered a memorandum to councilors regarding the complaints — the memorandum stated that the complaint filed by Ms. Quinn failed to meet the four elements necessary as set forth by the town’s anti-harassment policy; it also stated that Ms. Silva-Buck’s complaint did meet the four elements.

Mr. Carroll recused himself, so the newly-elected council vice president Rob Humm offered some ground rules for the discussion, and made sure to allow ample time for everyone interested to share their comments.

Ms. Silva-Buck, Ms. Quinn, Jack Van Leer, Lisa Lowenstein, Trinki Bruckner and others offered their thoughts on the topic.

Later in the discussion, council members took turns discussing the situation. Mr. Humm said he agreed with the solicitor’s memorandum and that the issue did not rise to the level of censure. Mr. Humm said he believed that no further action needed to be taken against Mr. Carroll or Ms. Weymouth.

Council member Jacob Brier said he was disappointed with the way the situation had been handled by the town. He also said that while he agreed Ms. Quinn was not the victim of harassment, she was retaliated against when she spoke out for someone who had been discriminated against.

Mr. Brier said he did not know what to do from here, but believed it was appropriate to invite Ms. Weymouth and Mr. Carroll to publicly apologize to Ms. Silva-Buck and Ms. Quinn.

Councilor Carl Kustell said he agreed with Mr. Humm’s thoughts on the issue, and he also stated that the town’s anti-harassment policy was flawed and needs to be revisited.

We’re at the point where we need to address the flaws in our own policy, Mr. Kustell said.

Council member Annelise Conway stated that the town has much work to do on many different issues and that further investigation into the complaints will not reveal any new information. She said that she cannot make someone else apologize for something, but instead offered her own apologies to Ms. Silva-Buck and Ms. Quinn.

Mr. Brier made a motion to “hold space” at the next council meeting, inviting Mr. Carroll and Ms. Weymouth to apologize. At about that time, Ms. Silva-Buck held up a hand-written sign to her computer, reading that she wanted an apology.

Mr. Kustell questioned that idea, stating that he did not believe it was the council’s place to “shoehorn” someone into a course of action. He said that nudging someone to do something is not a matter of law, but rather a matter of conscience.

Mr. Brier’s motion failed to be seconded.

Mr. Humm later made another motion calling for the council to take no further action on the complaints. Mr. Kustell seconded the motion, which passed 3-1, with Mr. Brier voting against it.

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