At the Nov. 19 Middletown Borough Council meeting, Council President Christopher McNamara verbally attacked Daniel Walmer, a Press And Journal staff writer. The content of Mr. McNamara’s rant is unimportant. What is important is that …
At the Nov. 19 Middletown Borough Council meeting, Council President Christopher McNamara verbally attacked Daniel Walmer, a Press And Journal staff writer. The content of Mr. McNamara’s rant is unimportant. What is important is that he chose to verbally attack Mr. Walmer during a public meeting. He could have chosen to discuss his grievances with Press And Journal Publisher Joe Sukle in a private meeting, but he did not.
Mr. McNamara’s verbal attack of an attendee of a public meeting was disturbing. Perhaps even more disturbing was that none of the other council members displayed enough strength of character to apologize to Mr. Walmer on behalf of the borough residents that they were elected to represent. It should be noted that council members Scott Sites and Sue Sullivan were not in attendance.
Whether or not the council members in attendance agreed with Mr. McNamara is unimportant. What is important is that they condoned the grossly unprofessional behavior displayed by Mr. McNamara.
From my perspective, Mr. McNamara’s behavior toward Mr. Walmer was that of an adult bully; his words were verbally abusive, his actions coercive. His behavior as I have witnessed at previous council meetings is that of an authoritarian (a).
In my opinion, an effective leader displays neither bullying nor authoritarian behavior. In my opinion, Mr. McNamara’s behavior at the Nov. 19 council meeting was unacceptable.
Cathy R. Winter, Ph.D.
(a) The preventchildabuse.org website reports: “Research indicates that adults who bully have personalities that are authoritarian, combined with a strong need to control or dominate (1). The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines authoritarian as favoring 1) blind submission to authority and 2) a concentration of power in a leader not constitutionally responsible to the people. Authoritarianism often includes political decision making by a select group of officials behind closed doors and fails to serve the concerns of the constituencies they purportedly serve. Authoritarianism embraces informal and unregulated exercise of political power, the arbitrary deprivation of civil liberties, and little tolerance for meaningful opposition.
1. The Harassed Worker, Brodsky, C. (1976), D.C. Heath and Company, Lexington, Massachusetts.