Disrutpive citizen escorted from room
The Lehigh County Commissioner’s meeting had a rocky start Jan. 22 when, immediately after Madam Chair Amy Zanelli led the Pledge of Allegiance, former County Commissioner candidate Mathew Schutter began interrupting the proceedings with a call for “a point of order.”
According to Ann McFarlane, an author on parliamentary procedure, calling for a point of order is reserved for a member of the deliberative body after being recognized by the presiding officer.
“Members of the public at large have the right to attend public meetings and to offer comment as prescribed. They do not have the right to behave like a public nuisance and disrupt the proceedings with inappropriate exclamations …”
When Zanelli said that she would get to him, Schutter began to raise his voice and speak over her.
The sheriff’s deputy on duty in the room began to move from his post at the door toward Schutter, who continued to speak over Zanelli while she called for approval of the minutes of the last meeting. Schutter quieted himself as the deputy got closer to him.
Zanelli invited Schutter to state his name and address and to continue addressing the board at the approptiate point in the agenda.
“We are still violating the Sunshine Law,” said Schutter. While it wasn’t clear what the violation was, he went on to rail against what he called harassment. He continued for a minute in speech that was hard to clearly understand.
He appeared to complete his speech and Zanelli then invited Schutter to pursue any avenues available to him and then continued with the proceedings, but then Schutter rebounded and began interrupting Zanelli and the proceedings by shouting. The deputy escorted Schutter out of the hearing room.
In other business, the commissioners passed a bill appointing Lehigh County Executive Philips Armstrong as “agent of the Board of Commissioners for labor relations. The bill also repealed Ordinance 2015-107 on Labor Relations. Several citizens were reappointed to boards and councils: Catherine P. Caracio, Marguerite Mutchler, Susan Ungerer, Robbie Matthews, and Pamela Wallace—Children and Youth Services Advisory Council; Michel A. Yeager—Lehigh County Housing Authority Board; Shilpa Barrantes, Connnie Hammann, Dr. John Stevens and Christine Emily Gorigoitia-Wittenberg—Lehigh County Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities Advisory Board; Francis (Frank) Facchiano and Larry Hemberger—Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority.