Highlights from Frazier's conference on proposed resolution to censure other Taneytown council members.
Councilman Donald Frazier stood outside of City Hall on Monday evening to discuss censuring other council members following his wife's failed lawsuit against the city, but ultimately withdrew the ordinance.
The news conference is the latest in a line of public statements made by members of the Taneytown City Council after former county commissioner and Frazier's wife Robin Frazier sued the town for failing to adhere to the state's Open Meetings Act. Earlier this month, Judge Lawrence Daniels found that the council and mayor made two technical violations of the Open Meetings Act when they failed to give proper notice of the open meeting and failed to list the mayor as an attendee of the meeting. But none of the acts were willful, Daniels decided, meaning the city did not have to pay fines.
Councilman Donald Frazier on Monday publicly signed a resolution before the regularly scheduled meeting that, if introduced, would have called for the censure of three council members — Bradley Wantz, Joe Vigliotti and Diane Foster — after they violated the Open Meetings Act. Frazier motioned for the introduction of the resolution, but withdrew it after a discussion during which Wantz, Vigliotti and Foster, through Mayor James McCarron, made statements recusing themselves.
Following the council members statements, McCarron called for Donald Frazier to work with the other members to better the city or to submit his resignation.
"It's got to stop. We've got to get with city business," McCarron said.
Robin Frazier sued the city over violations of the Open Meetings Act, which says councils cannot hold closed or open meetings without proper notice and meetings or hold a closed meeting without a preceding open meeting. Frazier brought the lawsuit after she and resident Katherine Adelaide were turned away from the opening meeting June 22, 2016, council members held to vote to go into a closed session.
The Fraziers both said the council members violated the law and claimed that they made four violations of the Open Meetings Act. At a workshop meeting Aug. 9, Adelaide proposed the resolution that would publicly censure Foster, Wantz and Vigliotti, as well as McCarron for violating the act.
Adelaide and Donald Frazier, during the 30-minute news conference, both cited the transcript of the judge's oral decision and found the four violations. When asked about a judge reversing one of the violations, Adelaide and Donald Frazier said they had not fully reviewed the oral recording prior to the meeting, with Frazier asking for additional time before answering. Frazier said that he did not attend the hearing because he was not subpoenaed by either side.
After Adelaide read through the four violations she said the judge found, Frazier called for the public to demand the council members to admit they violated the act four times.
"I have said over and over that the town is running its business in secret and having secret meetings, and I think this is a good example of one. Why would they have a meeting when two of the councilmen promised me they would do this. Because they had something to do in secret, that's what I think," Frazier said.
He also called for the Times to retract its article due to it saying only two violations were found by the judge.
The discussion over the proposed resolution was the last item of the meeting, and three of the five council members were forced to recuse themselves as they were named in the resolution.
In their statements, Wantz and Vigliotti both spoke about the ways Frazier has created obstacles to city business and how their reputations have been affected.
"I have been called a liar in public, with not a shred of truthful evidence to support this claim. I have been referred to as a 'drug dealer' for voting to allow a legal business to locate in our city. I have had my picture plastered on tacky propaganda fliers, along with my phone numbers, that there aimed at inciting harassment against me," Wantz said in his statement, a copy of which was given to the Times after the meeting.
Vigliotti said that Frazier, and his supporters, have called the mayor a dictator and the council corrupt, liars and tyrants, as well as accusing the city manager of stealing money and questioning the city attorney's ability to do his job.
"Rather than engaging in constructive dialogue with the Mayor, Council, and City Administration over the past two years, Councilman Frazier has increasingly polarized the council and escalated his invective to the level of vilification," Vigliotti said in his statement, a copy of which the Times obtained after the meeting.
Vigliotti said that the council members are not perfect and they are atoning for the technical violations they committed.
Wantz also raised concerns about how this was affecting the city, saying it is preventing other municipalities from respecting Taneytown and discouraging people from running for office.
"This has become the Taneytown. This has become the low point in our history. This is what our citizens are ashamed of," Wantz said in his statement.