Man Told He Can’t Address East Liverpool City Council
A father and son planning to address East Liverpool City Council about a citation during its meeting this week were told a city ordinance forbade them from speaking.
At the beginning of each council session, council President John Torma announces that only residents or those who own a business may address council during the public portion of the meeting.
Brian Stowers of Annesley Road — located outside East Liverpool city limits — came to the podium first, and when advised by Torma of the rules, Stowers said, “I called specifically and asked if I could speak.”
Stowers, the brother of Councilman Craig Stowers, said he asked Councilman Ernest Peachey and was advised he could address council. Peachey told Torma, “I thought he could.”
Torma told Stowers he could have the woman with him speak, and Marge Burson of Globe Street came to the podium saying two weeks ago, Stowers received a citation from the city for working on her roof.
“He didn’t charge me a dime. I’ve known him since he was little. It was his brother who (reported him),” Burson claimed, adding, “There has to be money exchanged and this boy, cross my heart, didn’t charge a penny.”
City police charged Brian Stowers with failure to have a contractor’s license after Service and Safety Director Brian Allen issued a complaint about him working on a roof. Torma said Stowers would have to state his case to Allen, but Stowers complained, “He’s the one who wrote the ticket.”
As Brian Stowers continued to comment, Torma told him his time at the podium was terminated.
Stowers was followed by his son, also named Brian Stowers, who does live within city limits. The younger Brian Stowers began to voice displeasure with the mayor and others “slandering people’s names” on social media.
Torma advised the younger Stowers that his dispute is with the administration, not council, and that “everyone has a right to put what they want on social media.”
“This is not city business,” Torma told him, terminating his time at the podium.
Although Councilman Stowers interjected, Torma told him to reserve his comments to the portion of the meeting set aside for council remarks, but he did not bring up the subject during that period.