NORTH ADAMS -- One of the city's loudest critics has been banned from stepping foot on City Hall property.
Robert Cardimino, of East Quincy Street, was served by police with a letter of "no trespass" on Monday, warning the one-time City Council candidate that he will be arrested if he enters City Hall or is seen on the premises.
Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said Monday the letter was drafted last week after Cardimino began a verbal assault on Councilor Marie Harpin during the council's Open Forum that was of an "explosive nature." He said that, along with several past events where Cardimino has been disruptive, pushed him to take action.
"Enough is enough," Alcombright said. "I know this is the City Council's meeting, but I felt something needed to be done. I'm concerned about the safety of the people in the room. This type of behavior is not necessary at that type of meeting. This city doesn't have issues that are big and bad enough to make us deal with this type of behavior."
Cardimino declined to say Monday how he would respond to the letter, but said he was "not going to take it sitting down."
"They may think they've won the battle, but they haven't won the war," he said.
During the council's Open Forum, Cardimino was called "out of order" by Council President Michael Bloom and was told to take his seat after he suggested Harpin "pay her taxes," referring to a delinquent tax payer list he had received
Cardimino refused to sit and argued that Bloom was once again violating the Open Meeting Law.
"You violated the law before. You have not responded to my request. I have a letter from the state saying you're in violation. I will call them and let them know you are in violation again," Cardimino said.
The meeting was adjourned immediately, after a motion was put forth by Councilor Jennifer Breen. However, Cardimino continued to accuse Harpin of not paying her property taxes after the meeting adjourned. The police were called to City Hall by one of the councilors.
Harpin's name was not on a list of delinquent tax payers issued by the city's treasurer May 31.
"It's about safety," Bloom said Monday. "Mr. Cardimino was very aggressive at the meeting. After the meeting was adjourned, he crossed through the gate, walked onto the floor of the council and stood across the table from Councilor Harpin, screaming at her. He was not responsive during the meeting to my requests to sit down. He was not in control and it appeared he had no intention to stop. I think I've shown him a lot of latitude during the Hearing of Visitors and during Open Forum."
He added, "Mr. Cardimino represents himself as being there for the seniors and those who have trouble making ends meet. Yet he wants to go digging and humiliate people who are having trouble paying their taxes. I find it very hypocritical."
Cardimino said Monday he intends to file charges against Bloom for violating his rights.
"I was quoting a public record. He had no business calling me out of order," he said. "Bloom has said that topics need to be about municipal issues. Well, if talking about a councilor not paying taxes isn't a matter of municipal interest, then I don't know what is."
According to a representative from the Attorney General's office, Cardimino has filed one complaint against the City Council, on April 9, which is still under investigation. A ruling has yet to be issued.
City Solicitor John DeRosa said the letter, which is based upon the state's no trespass statue, is "not about the abridgment of [Mr. Cardimino's] rights under the Open Meeting Law or an abridgment of his rights under the Constitution; it's about the right of the City Council to conduct its business in a safe and conducive environment."
DeRosa added, "You do not have the right to speak at a public meeting. That right comes from the rules set forth by the council. President Bloom has made it clear that there is no room for comments like this or for personal attacks. This was clear last Tuesday."
Alcombright said he doesn't know if the order will be seen as a violation of the Open Meeting Law, by refusing Cardimino the ability to attend the council meetings.
"That's for others of greater legal minds than mine to decide," he said. "It's a matter for others to decide. My first inclination, whether as mayor or in the private sector, has been the safety of my employees."