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Protesters Call For Resignation Of Holyoke City Councilors

brendan smells badHOLYOKE, Mass (WGGB) — Angry residents made their voices heard outside Holyoke City Hall Thursday.

“Hey hey, ho ho Bresnahan, McGee must go!” a group of protesters sang as they held signs.

“I’m quite appalled at what happened yesterday and the commentary,” longtime Holyoke resident and community advocate Darlene Elias said.

Unbeknownst to them, microphones were rolling on Councilors Todd McGee and Daniel Bresnahan when pregnant Councilor Rebecca Lisi walked into the chambers. Here’s how a readout of the conversation went:

“McGee: She’s due today!  Today’s her due date.
Bresnahan: I still don’t see a glow in her face… unlike most of the pregnant women I am attracted to.  She’s just not doing it for me.  But your wife on the other hand – whoa ho, oh boy…  when she was pregnant!
McGee: I’m not gonna lie to you.  I was pleasantly surprised.”

“What they did was deplorable in regards to Rebecca Lisi and the way they referred to her,” Elias said. “Rebecca Lisi is one of the most honorable people here in the City of Holyoke. And of all the city councilors, she’s the one who has worked the hardest.”

But the comments continued about resident James Bickford, who attends many meetings and says just one time, while injured, he failed to stand for the pledge of allegiance. This conversation entailed:

“McGee: Look at him.  Ah… man.  How did MassMutual hire that? What the “expletive” were they thinking?
Bresnahan: Just keep an eye on him when we do the pledge of allegiance.  He doesn’t expletive…  he sits down. (McGee laughs) I am telling you, he’s a expletive communist.”

“He’s just mis-characterizing people and he’s done it before and it’s just, I was the target this time and I caught it,” Bickford said Thursday.

Bickford is a veteran but says the councilors remarks go far beyond insulting him. Like most at Thursday’s protest, he’s calling for McGee and Bresnahan to step down.

“Either resignation or maybe some sort of diversity training, awareness, you know they really need to come to the table clean,” Elias said.

Council President Kevin Jourdain asked for a full review from the city’s personnel department regarding the whole incident. As it pertains specifically to Councilor Risi  he said in part of a statement “It is unacceptable and in violation of our rules to make references about fellow members in anything other than positive terms.  It also needs to be an environment where our female members feel completely comfortable and not the subject of debasing or lewd comments.”

ABC40 reached out to both Councilors McGee and Bresnahan,  but they did not return our calls.  The city council’s next meeting will be Tuesday, October 22nd.


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