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Madison Mayor condemns alder’s use of profanity during Common Council meeting

City officials have not confirmed which alderman used the profanity
Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 6:07 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - In response to an alder’s use of gender-based profanity during Tuesday night’s Common Council meeting, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway issued a statement Wednesday admitting “the culture and civility” of such meetings has deteriorated over the past few months.

During the meeting, where the Council approved oversight measures for the Madison Police Department, remarks from over 30 members of the public were heard. Approximately eight hours into the meeting, an alder was heard uttering the word “c*nt” after a member of the public was introduced to comment on an agenda item.

City officials have not confirmed which alder used the profanity.

In her statement, Mayor Rhodes-Conway condemned the use of profanity by city officials against community members.

“The public has a right and expectation to be treated and listened to with respect when attending a public meeting,” the Mayor said. “City officials and staff must uphold that standard at all times.”

A member of the public told NBC15 they, and others are now calling for the alder to step down from the Common Council. The Mayor did not call for the alder’s removal from the Council in her statement but did encourage alders to “come up with systems for us to hold each other accountable.”

Mayor Rhodes-Conway’s full statement can be read below:

Statement from Council President Carter and Mayor Rhodes-Conway on Behavior at the September 1, 2020Common Council Meeting

Over the past few months, the culture and civility of Common Council meetings has drastically deteriorated, culminating in what appears to be the use of gender based profanity addressed at a member of the public at the September 1st Council meeting.

No words of gender-based violence should ever be uttered by anyone, period. No profanity should be used towards members of the body and no such language, verbally or otherwise, should be used against anyone in our community.

The public has a right and expectation to be treated and listened to with respect when attending a public meeting. City officials and staff must uphold that standard at all times.

With Common Council meetings being conducted virtually we want to remind all Council members to refrain from using profanity during our Council and Committee meetings. This behavior is totally unacceptable.

Elected officials are charged with great responsibilities that impact the lives of people every day, residents, employees and business owners and as such we should be held to high standards and set an example for the community.

Alders using profanity or a derogatory statement during public meetings –whether virtually or in person --or even on social media, is indisputably uncalled for and should not be a part of our proceedings as we conduct the business of the City. The City’s residents deserves better from us.

We encourage alders to comeup with systems for us to hold each other accountable outside of elections and look forward to the work of the President’s Work Group on Administrative Procedures to come up with processes moving forward.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway

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