A Lake Worth, Florida city commission meeting on Thursday became heated when Commissioner Omari Hardy grilled Mayor Pam Triolo on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting soon turned into a yelling match, with fingers being pointed and accusations being thrown from both parties.
The entire exchange is available on Twitter:
Lake Worth Beach is a city in Florida in Palm Beach County, north of Miami. The mayor, Pam Triolo, is the head of a five-member city commission which includes Commissioner Omari Hardy.
The Exchange Became Heated as Hardy Accused Triolo & City Manager Bornstein of Failing to Adequately Respond to the Crisis
During the exchange, Hardy accused Mayor Triolo and City Manager Michael Bornstein of “turning off people’s lights during a global health pandemic.” He also said Triolo had refused to call an emergency meeting to work on the city’s response to the crisis.
Things got heated when Triolo asked for a second and a vote, and Hardy interrupted, saying “are you telling me that you’re going to keep me from talking right now?” Another commissioner answered, “you’ve talked all evening.”
Hardy then said, “Look here, you’re calling me disrespectful because I’ve interrupted people. But this gentleman [Bornstein] has turned off people’s lights in the middle of a global health pandemic. That’s what that gentleman did. And you think I’m disrespectful for interrupting.”
He said, “this gentleman has had the opportunity to do a number of things. He could have banned large gatherings, we could have closed the beach, we could have put a moratorium on utility shut-offs.”
Triolo Called a Recess & Stood Up to Leave But Things Escalated Quickly
Triolo called a recess and tried to leave the room as Hardy yelled: “This is a banana republic is what you’re turning this place into with your so-called leadership.” He said “we should have been talking about this last week. We cut people’s utilities this week and made them pay, with what could have been their last check, to us to turn their lights on in a global health pandemic.”
He then yelled, “But you don’t care about that! You didn’t want to meet! But every other year you go around and beg people for their votes.” He said, “You care more about your relationship with [Bornstein] than you care about the relationship with the people who don’t go to work in this crisis.”
Triolo’s response to Hardy was to say he was “out of order. You’re done. You’re gone.” She also referenced Hardy’s plan to leave the city commission and run for a seat in the Florida State House. She said, “Hardy for state house, you got a camera on that?”