A lot of American citizens have grounds to complain about the way the federal and local government is handling the coronavirus outbreak. Yet, one city commissioner decided to stand up for the community members.
On Thursday, the city of Lake Worth, Florida held an emergency meeting to discuss a utility company's role in cutting off customers' power during the coronavirus pandemic, the local CBS-affiliate reports. In a video, Commissioner Omari Hardy fires back at Mayor Pam Triolo and City Manager Michael Bornstein after a commissioner "calls the question" while Hardy is trying to talk to the company's representative.
"I'm sorry, that's not how this works," Hardy explained. "We usually each have an opportunity to speak five minutes."
Mayor Triolo then "calls the question" a second time, leading to a heated exchange between Hardy and Triolo. During their conversation, Hardy reveals that he wanted to hold this meeting at an earlier date but was denied. As a result, customers—who are already struggling with a financial burden due to the coronavirus—had to pay a reconnecting fee to restore power in their homes. This prompted Triolo to call for a recess.
In response to this, Hardy alleges that her association with the utility company's owner stopped her from serving the people that elected her as their mayor.
Hardy's outburst became a viral sensation. In a Facebook post, the commissioner stands by his comments.
"I was heated, yes. I was loud, yes. But I was trying to get across an important point: that elected officials work for the PEOPLE," the post reads. "I was frustrated with three of my colleagues because they had forgotten who we work for. Only Commissioner Herman Robinson was with me, and I am thankful to him for standing up for our residents. As I am thankful to you for standing with me now. Your encouragement has been a blessing and an honor. I look forward to the work that is needed to ensure that our government works for the PEOPLE."
In a statement on Saturday, the City of Lake Worth Beach clarified that utility services would not be disconnected. "During the COVID-19 crisis the City of Lake Worth Beach IS NOT DISCONNECTING UTILITY SERVICES for any utility accounts within the entire utility service area," it read.