U City Mayor Mulling Councilmember's Safety Concerns; Doesn't Want Council Meetings to Feel Like Armed Camps
University City mayor said she feels safe with 2 police officers at Council meetings, but takes seriously concerns expressed by Council member Lynn Ricci.
University City Mayor Shelley Welsch said she "personally" feels safe with two police officers in the City Council chambers.
In an email to University City Patch, she said "However, I am, of course, concerned when any member of Council feels uncomfortable or unsafe in a meeting."
In a letter to the mayor dated Friday, Feb. 25, Council member Lynn Ricci said she wanted to see ''5 police officers at our meeting" to remove any person, councilmember or audience member alike that gets "physical, loud and menacing."
Ricci's remarks come after the mayor wrote a letter of reprimand to Council member Byron Price for what she called his "bullying" and "disorderly" behavior at the council meeting on Monday, Feb. 14.
In her letter, Ricci wrote, "I am now as of this last meeting uncomfortable for safety of all in council chambers."
"When a council member gets physical, loud, and menacing, it is frankly not that individual councilmember that I fear as much as the unknown audience member who, however irrational it may be, is incited to act," she wrote.
In her email, Mayor Welsch said she'd like to see the council discuss safety concerns in person "not over- email." She said the council needs to find the right balance between safety and "the need to ensure our residents don’t feel they are in an armed camp when they attend Council meetings."
Meantime, the mayor also said she does not support Council member Ricci's call for the council to formally make an independent investigation into recent disclosures of council information, including the mayor's letter of reprimand to Council member Byron Price.
"This is a public document," said Mayor Welsch. "The focus should be on Councilmember Price’s disorderly behavior." She said the City Council cannot conduct business "when one of its members continues to resort to personal attacks on Councilmembers and City staff."