City Council missed a golden opportunity last week to bridge a cultural divide here in town.
It was sad watching councilmembers flounder in their attempt to agree on who to appoint as Mayor Pro Tem, the person who chairs the meetings in the absence of the mayor and to fill in for her as requested at special events.
The non-Bengali councilmembers voted just for themselves and the Bengali councilmembers also voted only for themselves. Shame on both of these camps. The result was five straight split votes.
Mayor Karen Majewski finally broke the tie, and Councilmember Andrea Karpinski was appointed. Normally the job goes to someone who has experience on council. We’re sure Karpinski is up for the position but she is newly-elected and that was her first meeting.
The council and mayor should have appointed one of the Bengali councilmembers. The Bengali community has become a powerful voting bloc, and they deserve a place at the table, so to speak.
They deserve to have a member of their community take a more prominent position on council.
It’s unbelievable not one of the non-Bengali councilmembers refused to reach a hand out in partnership.
This is a terrible way to begin a new term, and we wouldn’t be surprised if some in the Bengali community are deeply offended.
We hope this bungled attempt at choosing a Mayor Pro Tem does not set the tone for worse things to come. But we can’t help but feel that this failure to compromise has created a deep divide.