Speaker ruled out of order at City Council meeting
Told to leave
By Jessica Coates
SALISBURY — Carolyn Logan, who frequently attends Salisbury City Council meetings, was ordered out of Tuesday evening’s meeting after Mayor Karen Alexander ruled her out of order.
Logan was summoned to take her turn speaking at Tuesday’s public-comment period. She and eight other people had signed up to speak using a sign-in sheet available to anyone at the beginning of council meetings.
Logan, whom council members have accused of lying at previous meetings, said that at the council’s Aug. 1 meeting, she was “once again the victim of having my constitutional rights violated” when she was not allowed to finish her statement.
It was then that Alexander hammered the gavel and told Logan she was out of order.
“How am I out of order?” Logan asked.
“You’re out of order because you’re saying things that are not true, Ms. Logan,” Alexander said.
A discussion among Alexander, Logan and City Attorney Rivers Lawther escalated over the next two minutes. At certain points, the mayor shushed Logan to keep her from speaking.
“You just said that City Council has done something outside of the law. This has been researched; we are fully within the law,” Alexander said.
Alexander asked Lawther, whom the council had recently appointed as parliamentarian, to convince Logan of the legality of the council’s guidelines.
“Your constitutional rights have not been violated,” Lawther told Logan. “We’ve got the rules and you can check them with your attorney.”
Logan then asked what she had said at the Aug. 1 meeting that she was not allowed to say.
“Well, as I recall, you attacked the mayor,” Lawther began.
“How did I attack her?” Logan interrupted. “Do you know the definition of attack?”
Alexander hammered her gavel loudly, and Councilman Brian Miller told Logan to sit down. Alexander then said, “Remove her.”
Although Logan was not actually forced to leave with a police escort — Logan said she was “leaving anyway” — Alexander did address the police officer present and ask him to escort Logan out if she was not willing to leave on her own.
In an interview after the meeting, Lawther said Logan had violated rules the council passed in April that dictate the decorum people must have while addressing the council.
“They’ve got several rules set out there, and the public-comment period is for people to come and speak. And they’ve got a constitutional right to do that,” Lawther said. “But they have to do it within the rules that are set up for it.”
Some of those rules include not allowing attacks on individuals and not addressing things outside the council’s jurisdiction.
Contact Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.
Editor’s note: This article is the first in a series examining the creation, operation, impact and future of Salisbury’s fiber optic network,... read more