Plummer Ousted with an Escort
July 25th, 2007

A fiery showdown between Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmember Charles Barron erupted on the floor of the City Council chambers this afternoon, turning the governing body’s normally routine meetings into an outright battle that included police escorts.

Barron’s Chief of Staff and former City Hall staffer, Viola Plummer, was escorted out of the chambers when she refused to heed a call from city officials that instructed non-city employees to leave the floor. Quinn suspended Plummer after the former staffer threatened another councilmember with a so-called “political assassination” when he abstained from a controversial street renaming vote.

After Plummer refused to sign a code of conduct drafted by the speaker’s office, Quinn fired her. Today’s meeting was Plummer’s first as a so-called ex-staffer. Barron, who recently announced a campaign for Brooklyn borough president, has at times pledged to pay her $50,000-plus salary out of his own pocket.

Plummer has since filed a $1 million lawsuit against the city.

“She illegally fired my staff, and now she’s illegally trying to stop her from coming to a public meeting,” said Barron prior to the meeting in a cramped corner of City Hall flooded with reporters and cameramen. “This is a racist act,” he added, while he threw his arm around Plummer’s shoulder.

Plummer, who was clad in white from head to toe, called the ordeal “absurd.” Following the cramped press conference, Barron and Plummer marched up to the chambers, where she took her normal seat with the rest of City Hall staffers.

But she didn’t sit for long. Police escorted Plummer out shortly after the council’s ceremonial procedures (which occur before all of its stated meetings) when the former staffer refused to vacate the council floor for the beginning of the official meeting. According to Quinn, staffers and council members are the only individuals allowed to remain on the floor during the official proceedings. Barron followed his staffer out and up to the balcony where members of the public sit, but both left the premises shortly after.

Barron did not return to vote on any legislation, which included a bill guaranteeing the right for children to carry a cell phone to and from school as well as several bills regarding the city’s Department of Buildings.

Throughout the rest of the regularly scheduled meeting, certain council members seemed to defend either Barron or Quinn. Councilmember Helen Foster demanded police check everyone on the floor of the chamber to make sure they were supposed to be there under the council’s rule an apparent jab to Quinn’s decision.

Others, like Councilmember Peter Vallone, seemed to side with the speaker.

“I commend the speaker for all of these bills and all of her action today,” Vallone said prior to the council’s vote.

The incident turned cameras away from Councilmember Dennis Gallagher, who returned for the council’s stated meeting for the first time since he was accused of raping a woman at his Queen’s district office. No charges have been filed against Gallagher.

By on July 25, 2007, 5:07 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Crime & Safety,Gotham City,Law | 4 Comments »

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4 Responses to “Plummer Ousted with an Escort”

  1. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Fare Hikes and Political Spectacles Says:
    July 26th, 2007 at 9:05 am

    […] Other-Language Press NYC Blogs  » Gotham City Recent Posts Fare Hikes and Political Spectacles Plummer Ousted with an Escort Eliot Mess Day 2 SteamrollingSpitzer […]

  2. Plummer, Barron Accuse Quinn of Racism, White Supremacy at Says:
    July 26th, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    […] Plummer also reportedly compared Quinn to Bull Connor. The Wonkster reports that after the hubbub, City Councilwoman Helen Foster “demanded police check everyone on the floor of the chamber to make sure they were supposed to be there under the council’s rule – an apparent jab to Quinn’s decision,” but that there were some City Council members who sided with Quinn. No quotes, though, from Leroy Comrie, the black City Councilman who Plummer had “threatened” (because he didn’t participate in a vote). […]

  3. animal Says:
    July 27th, 2007 at 11:03 am

    ha ha vallone is quinn’s biggest supporter, i guess quinn’s true colors are showing she is a neo-con in liberal clothing.

  4. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Quinn Kicks Public Out Says:
    April 30th, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    […] the first significant disturbance since the Viola Plummer incident, Council Speaker Christine Quinn ordered the balcony of the council chamber be cleared this […]

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