Things got heated at Monday’s Fall River City Council finance meeting.
During discussion on the City of Fall River’s streetscapes initiative, Council President Cliff Ponte Jr professed his frustration at both of the streetscapes projects believing both are failures which led to comments concerning the condition of other city streets and that the Purchase Street streetscape project had not brought bustling business to the area. City Councilor Shawn Cadime then responded by stating that Ponte was incorrect due to the fact that Mayor Correia’s girlfriend was opening up restaurants in the area and was handed liquor licenses “out of nowhere”.
Approximately 5 minutes after the comments by Cadime and Ponte, Mayor Correia appeared on the meeting floor and sat down with other members of his administration. Ponte asked the mayor why he was walking on the council floor uninvited and instructed the mayor to sit in the audience. When Correia did not leave the table, a recess was called.
Once the finance meeting resumed, Correia stated that as mayor he has the right, according to the charter, to attend the meeting as part of the administration and told Ponte to “show some decorum.”
The comments by the mayor appeared to anger Ponte.
“This is the City Council chamber. You are not going to come down to the City Council chamber and talk to me about decorum. The lack of decorum comes from you. Walking into the City Council meeting and sitting at the table whenever you please.”
The meeting then went into recess for a second time and reconvened just after 9:00 p.m. with Brad Kilby noticeably absent, but police officers noticeably present. Ponte again asked the mayor to go back into the audience and stated that the mayor doesn’t typically attend the meetings and that he showed up due to hearing something he didn’t like. Correia stated that if him not showing up to meetings was the issue that he would attend the council meetings.
After the exchange, and the discussion on the streetscapes issue had been stopped by the council due to the mayor’s presence, Cadime stated that he realized the mayor was “accustom to being arrested”, but he didn’t want the officers to be put in that position. Ponte agreed that he also didn’t want the officers to be put in that position. Due to the mayor not leaving the table, the council decided to adjourn the finance meeting.