Friday, April 13, 2012

Mayor drops hammer on unruly speakers

1 ejected from council meeting, another threatened with ejection


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Fritz Haemmerle

Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle set a new policy Monday to keep order in the Hailey City Council chambers. From now on, he will give one warning with the gavel before ejecting unruly speakers.

During his first three months in office, Haemmerle has expelled one person and threatened to expel another for "disruptive" or "inappropriate" speaking.

On Monday, Haemmerle announced the two-strikes-and-your-out policy.

"It's my job to maintain order," he said in an interview. "Anyone can speak whatever is on their mind, but when they become disruptive, they're out of order."

The meeting was attended not only by Police Chief Jeff Gunter, who's usually there, but also by an additional uniformed Hailey police officer. Haemmerle said the additional officer was ordered to attend Monday's council meeting because the agenda included a public comment period on a proposed annexation ordinance.

"That was the last time [disruptive speaking took place], on the topic of the annexation ordinance," Haemmerle said. "I was anticipating having another problem."

<

Two months ago, Hailey resident Donald Lappin was escorted by Gunter—at Haemmerle's direction—to the exit of the council chambers for pitching himself as a promoter for hire for the Hailey Rodeo Arena. Haemmerle said at the time that he thought the pitch was inappropriate, and called for Gunter when Lappin continued talking.

"I had already told him before the meeting to talk to [City Administrator] Heather Dawson about the very topic," he said. "You can't use the public comment period to start pitching yourself."

On March 19, Haemmerle got into a heated exchange with Hailey resident Bill Hughes, who questioned how the city was using taxpayer funds. Haemmerle threatened to have Hughes ejected from the meeting unless he agreed to comport himself properly and constrain his public comments to the topic under consideration.

"We come in here and you bully and intimidate, Fritz," Hughes said.

"Billy was kind of ranting," Haemmerle said in the interview. "You're absolutely free to state what is on your mind on a topic, but if we're on topic A and you're on topic Z, I would say you're out of order. We were talking about the annexation ordinance."

Haemmerle added that taking personal shots at people and exceeding stated time limits for public comments would also not be tolerated.

"People have a free right to speak, but they do not have a free right to be disruptive," he said.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.