Northampton City Councilors Eugene Tacy, Pamela Schwartz spar over override
Eugene Tacy, Ward 7 Purchase photo reprints »
Pamela Schwartz, Ward 4, waits for results at City Hall Tuesday. Purchase photo reprints »
NORTHAMPTON — A day after Ward 7 City Councilor Eugene A. Tacy took fellow councilor Pamela C. Schwartz to task for what he perceived as gloating over the passage of a Proposition 2½ override earlier this week, Schwartz called the unprovoked attack a “shocking” display of political grandstanding.
“It was just so beneath how we operate as a community and City Council,” Schwartz said Friday.
During a discussion about how the money generated by Tuesday’s passage of a $2.5 million override would be spent next fiscal year, Tacy held up a copy of Wednesday’s Daily Hampshire Gazette that featured a front-page picture of Schwartz, an outspoken override supporter who represents Ward 4, smiling and talking with a fellow supporter.
Tacy said proponents should not be gloating about an issue that has divided the city. He said a picture of people celebrating sends a message that “we have crushed the opposition.”
“My only suggestion would have been, in the media, rather than this ... it would have been something more along the lines of, ‘I understand this has created great hardships,’ ” Tacy said before being cut off by City Council President William H. Dwight.
Dwight said Tacy’s comments had veered off topic.
“First, we have no control over the media and we have no control of the way the media represents this,” Dwight said. “And in fact, it’s not germane or to the color of the issue we are discussing.”
When he tried to steer the discussion back toward the override’s effect on the city’s budget, Schwartz insisted on responding to Tacy’s attack. Because it was directed at her, Dwight allowed a brief rebuttal.
Schwartz said the picture, over which she had no control, had nothing to do with people who opposed the override.
“It had to do with absolute thrill that we preserved our basic services and our public education,” Schwartz said. “We are all in this together and that was pure joy and relief ... that’s what that emotion was all about.”
On Friday, Schwartz said she found it amazing that Tacy would make such comments “knowing full well” that she had repeatedly said publicly that property tax increases are not an ideal solution to the city’s financial problems.
“There isn’t animosity” between supporters of the override and its opponents, she said. “There is a desire for solidarity and mutual support.”
Tacy could not be reached Friday for comment.
Meanwhile, the council voted unanimously Thursday to approve the fiscal 2014 budget proposed by Mayor David J. Narkewicz, with Tacy reversing a previous no vote on the budget before the override passed.