Mayor-elect, councilors skirmish over dress, inaugural celebration

AUBURN — A disagreement over City Council decorum and attire has two councilors angry at the incoming mayor.

Mayor-elect Dick Gleason said Tuesday he stands by statements he made last month calling for neater dress at City Council meetings.

"I'm not asking for a jacket and tie," Gleason said. "All I'm saying is that I've seen instances where councilors came to meetings in jeans and shorts. I think it's up to us as city leaders to set an example, especially for children who watch us."

Councilors on Monday later voted to downsize the Dec. 7 inauguration, a move one councilor said was being done to punish the mayor-elect.

Councilors Dan Herrick and Mike Farrell said they were offended by some pre-election comments Gleason made to the Danville Grange last month. Speaking at an Oct. 8 candidate forum, Gleason said he wanted to see more decorum at City Council meetings, beginning with how councilors dress.

"I think there have been times when they've come directly from the barn to the City Council meeting, and I don't think that's how it should be," Gleason told Grange members. "I think they should take a shower and at least put on a shirt."

Herrick, a contractor by trade, took offense at that.

"I have never come here without taking a shower," Herrick said Monday night."Believe it or not, I have hot water, too. I even have floors in my home."

Clothes don't make the man, Herrick said.

"I had a mind tonight to come here in bib overalls and straw hat, and just walk out of the barn without taking a shower," Herrick said. "This guy here is not wearing a suit, coat and a tie to do a good job. And if anybody out there feels they want me to wear a suit, coat and tie, in the next election in two more years, please come forward in a suit, coat and a tie and run against me."

Gleason said he stands by his Oct. 8 statements. He is meeting individually with city councilors, and is giving them copies of the city's employee manual concerning attire and meeting conduct.

"I'm asking what they think about that," Gleason said. He's not trying to get a legal dress code passed, but he wants councilors to be more aware of how they dress.

"I don't think councilors should be above the rules of behavior we expect of our employees," Gleason said. "They should represent the best the city has to offer in all ways. So, I stand by what I said. I don't think I'm barking up the wrong tree."

Farrell said he objected to being presented with the city's employee dress code.

"I don't feel that I am an employee of the City of Auburn," Farrell
said. "If I come into the meeting with my clothes all torn up and my
shoes on the wrong feet, am I going to get written up?"


Inauguration trimmed

Gleason and the City Council are scheduled to be sworn in Dec. 7, and the city usually turns the event into a celebration. But councilors said nobody being sworn in next month is new to the job. A big inauguration is wasted, they said.

"I'd rather see that money go to something worthwhile," Farrell said. "We had people that couldn't heat their homes last winter and now we're going to have a big party? I think it makes more sense to take that money and put it into the heating assistance fund."

City Manager Glenn Aho said Central Maine Community College was donating the space for the inauguration, but the city had planned to spend up to $2,000 for catered refreshments.

Councilor David Young urged councilors to simply cut the catering.

"Otherwise, we're just doing this to upset the mayor-elect," Young said. "Maybe that's the intention of all this, to upset him because he's upset all of us."

Councilors voted 4-2 to cut the catering and move the inauguration to Auburn Hall. Gleason said that was a shame.

"If we're that concerned about costs, just cut the refreshments," he said. "We don't need them, but we do need to celebrate Auburn. And that's what this is: an opportunity for the residents to celebrate Auburn."

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 's picture

Ray - I was going to say

Ray - I was going to say that I don't believe councilors are employees. I hope we voted for people who would work for us - and govern our city - regardless of how they dress. However, so many of the comments surprised me - So many of you are perfectly happy to tell others how to dress. As for the Mayor, - arrogance is a flaw and not appreciated in any public servant. Brush up on your leadership skills.

TOM FOURNIER's picture

Give me a break, this is a

Give me a break, this is a very reasonable request. I find it time that adults set a better example and dressing in a professional manner is the first step to educate these kids out there who look like they are street walkers, gangbangers etc. If adults don't set the example who will. If you don't want to dress professional than get off the council.

 's picture

Farrell and Herrick

Farrell and Herrick seemingly have no dignity.

 's picture

Farrell and Herrick think

Farrell and Herrick think they have done good. In my opinion, they haven't. Just done a fine job of ruining our schools and increasing decrepit roads in our city. Good job, guys. Nobody wants to move to a town with crummy schools and crummy roads. Sometimes you have to spend to make things better. They just don't get it.

 's picture

Is the Auburn Council going

Is the Auburn Council going to act like children just like the Lewiston Council did, and they where wearing suits and nice clothes.
The Auburn Council needs to grow up. If they don't want to wear proper atire, then they don't need to be on the council looking like bums and we don't need to have people thinking the city is run by bums or adults acting like children.

 's picture

Dribble,Dribble and more

Dribble,Dribble and more dribble !! come on Ive seen well dressed people screw up worst than regular dressed people judge by actions not by what you wear ! And the new Mayor could start a trend SAVE MONEY FOR TAXPAYERS !!!!

 's picture

g2bn2n - They don't have to

g2bn2n - They don't have to do the city's business or dress discreetly. They're not employees, although I think someone here said they were paid. Didn't say who paid them, however. So they should be allowed to come unshaven, without a shirt to show off their manly, hairy chests and in flip flops. And with their junkyard dog. That's where the madness ends.

Clothes and pettiness, does

Clothes and pettiness, does not make the individual, or the leader; perhaps the mayor-elect should more wisely pick and choose his battles!

 's picture

I agree with the mayor 100%!

I agree with the mayor 100%!


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