On Wednesday’s Boston Public Radio, Everett City Mayor Carlo DeMaria defended comments he made during a Jan. 25 city council meeting where he strongly implied his desire to mute the screen of Councilor-at-Large Gerly Adrien.
"When I sit on Zoom, and someone’s speaking ... you pretend like you’re not on a computer screen, that you’re in the meeting, like you’re in person,” he said.
In a Boston Globe opinion piece published earlier this month, Adrien used DeMaria’s comment, along with other instances of conflict she’s encountered in office, as evidence of the unfair standards that she said she is held to as a Black woman in politics. She also spoke about the incident Monday on Boston Public Radio. Adrien is currently the first Black woman to serve on the city council, after having been elected in 2019.
DeMaria accused Adrien of having side conversations, pointing her finger at others, screaming at the screen and interrupting during the nearly two-hour-long virtual meeting in late January.
"It’s rude, and that’s it, plain and simple," DeMaria told Boston Public Radio.
Footage of the virtual meeting contradicts the mayor’s claims that Adrien ever screamed or pointed her finger. At one point, she can be seen visibly dismissing a comment he made about not reading social media, rolling her eyes with a look of bemusement.
DeMaria said his colleague's recent statements are "not the first time she’s made accusations against me, and made me sound like I’m someone that I’m not."
He went on to accuse Adrien of having sent "a multitude of emails" to his staff that were "rude and ignorant."
"It’s just not right the way she treats my staff and the people in the building. It’s not right," he said.
"I’m not afraid of his administration," Adrien told Boston Public Radioof DeMariaon Monday. "I’m not afraid of the council president or my colleagues. I wanted to come into this [job to] change people’s perspective, to get involved and to not be afraid.”
The mayor also spoke about combatting COVID-19 in his city, which has been one of the hardest hit in Massachusetts. Around Christmastime, DeMaria’s administration provided free face masks to city residents as a way to encourage pandemic safety.
"We just wanted to encourage wearing masks,” he explained. “You know … disposable masks, it’s another cost, right? We knew that might be a reason why people weren’t wearing them. So we came up with a washable mask that people can wear, and you can wash it every day and continue to wear it."
Asked what he'd like to see from Gov. Charlie Baker on pandemic mitigation, he said he'd like to see a fast-tracked vaccination plan for Everett teachers to quickly and safely allow students to return to classrooms.