22 Aug 2014
69° Overcast
Patch Instagram photo by ladolcedeedee
Patch Instagram photo by theundoing

Cell Phone Use Still Contentious in Bloomingdale

Attorney drafts resolution banning cell phone use for council members at meetings.

Cell Phone Use Still Contentious in Bloomingdale

The use of cell phones, specifically for text messaging, by members of the while in session  at Tuesday evening's council meeting.

Things got heated during the public comment portion of the meeting when Glen Wild Lake resident Carolyn Bross spoke her mind.

"This is not a team issue, this is something that may or may not be good for the town," she said. "Doesn't the public deserve your full attention? You're being paid to sit here, don't we deserve your full, undivided attention?"

"The worst thing about having your cell phones up there is that you cannot avoid the appearance of impropriety," she added. "You've got to not have the appearance of impropriety."

Councilwoman Linda Shortman fired back later in the meeting as the issue was brought up during pending business. Her main gripe was that a Glen Wild Lake resident—Shortman accused Bross, who denied it—wrote an incriminating blog post that said each council member was constantly texting during meetings. Shortman went on to say that there are circumstances that make having a cell phone at the meeting is necessary.

"I definitely don't disagree with you," Shortman said. "I do agree that we should not be texting during meetings. However, when you have someone home who is ill and when your phone buzzes and it's from them I do agree that you can excuse yourself and take the call."

Shortman also took issue with the council attorney drafting a resolution before the members had a chance to discuss the issue further

"This has gone way too far out of proportion. It could have been settled better," she said.

Councilman John D'Amato was adamant that members have been texting during meetings and even called out some fellow council members.

"It has absolutely been witnessed up here," he said. "I witnessed a text coming in, you (Shortman) picked up the phone and looked at it. You didn't text out but I found it inappropriate you were getting texts. Any business function that anybody goes to, they're always asked to turn their cell phones off because they're supposed to be paying attention."

"Our attention should be here and there. Period," he added. "It's a shame we have to be here until midnight, but those things happen. If my wife needs to get a hold of me, she knows to call the police station."

Councilman Mark Conklin took umbrage that a few incidents may have caused the issue for everyone, and he didn't like being lumped in with the rest.

"The way it is brought across is that council members are texting," he said. "One thing I don't like is being accused of something I didn't do. They didn't give out names but when you say 'council members are texting' that means all the council members are texting. That's what got everybody upset. That's wrong."

Share This Article