TIVERTON — In front of an intermittently raucus audience of 85 people in Town Hall Thursday night, the Tiverton Town Council voted 4-2 to replace Joan Chabot with Denise deMedeiros as town council president.
Voting in favor were Councilors Christine Ryan, Patricia Hilton, Joe Perry and deMedeiros. Voting against were Councilors Randy Lebeau and Chabot.
Councilor John Edwards, who was absent, was elected council vice-president.
Ms. Chabot had been asked asked by two councilors after the council meeting of Aug. 15 to step down as president. The two making the request were Councilors Ryan and Hilton. The request was made in an open kitchen area in the back hallway of town hall.
As Ms Hilton explained the request she and Ms. Ryan made, in a written statement read at Thursday's meeting,"Over the course of the last nine months," she said, "members of the council have been disrespectful, inappropriate, and have verbally attacked other town council members, our town solicitor, board and commission volunteers, and even members of the public."
"The council president has been unable to control this behavior. It has gotten progressively worse over the past several months, despite individual Town Council members attempts to discuss the issue with the council president and/or offer suggestions," Ms. Hilton said.
Speaking in her own defense Thursday night, Ms. Chabot said, "you may not like the way the toewn council is managed, but I have tried to do my best. That's the only thing I can say in my defense, that is all I can say. I'm all for making things better." Her comments were met with applause from the audience.
Later in the meeting, councilors were asked for their views. After Councilor Perry made his remarks, Councilor. Chabot started to speak.
Councilor Lebeau, who'd been trying to get Councilor Chabot's attention by saying, "Madam President, Madam President," apparently got tired of waiting and interjected when she didn't recognize him but instead herself started to speak.
"This is why I blow up," Mr. Lebeau said loudly. "And it's not going to stop. I don't care who's taking the seat. Because if I've got something to say, it's going to be heard," he said, his voice becoming increasingly loud. Ms. Chabot began pounding the gavel at this point.
" I don't care who's president." The gavel continued pounding. "If they're going to oust you, they're going to hear from me. I got elected by 2,045 people in this town, they know how I am, they know what I'm about, and I want my chance.If you don't like it, you better get used to it because it's 14 more months. It's not going to change."
Shortly after, the vote was taken, and Ms. Chabot was voted out as council president.
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