Yonkers fire and sanitation and union members showed up at a Yonkers City Council meeting last night to more than merely state angry objections to budgetary layoffs and cuts in services.
They also brought a dozen live rats and surreptitiously let them loose in the council chambers. (Five have been caught as of this writing).The rats apparently were brought in by sanitation workers who said that cutting garbage pickups in the city to one day a week would result in the spread of rodents and vermin. A giant inflatable rat was also put up outside City Hall.
That was for starters. The night only got worse.
According to Councilman John Murtagh, one of the fire union officials, Dennis Lawler, got up and verbally attacked the council by dropping numerous F bombs.
Murtagh told me today that Lawler said, “You know, you’re all here sitting on your fat asses and not you’re not doing an (expletive) thing.”
At that point Murtagh and two other councilman, John Larkin and Dennis Sherpherd, got up and walked out. Murtagh said Lawler continued his harangue.
“We all walked out of the building together and this contingent of firefighters proceeds to follow me and Dennis Shepherd down the four flights of stairs from the fourth floor, and the whole way down the stairs…they were kind of goading us all the way down and Dennis and I don’t break stride,” said Murtagh.
When they reached the parking area outside City Hall, Lawler wheeled around and pointed to Murtagh and began swearing at him.
“You know what, you can go (expletive) yourself and go (expletive) your mother,” Murtagh said he said.
Murtagh demanded that he repeat the insult. Lawler did.
Then he lunged for Murtagh and tossed a cigarette butt at him, the councilman said. Lawler was restrained by other union members.
Murtagh was targeted because he has been an outspoken critic of the unions. He has called on them to accept a pay cut of five percent ot help close a budget deficit of $109 million.
He said that Lawler is “disgracing the uniform.” The incident was reported to police.
“We’ll see what the police do,” Murtagh said. “But I don’t intend to let up.”
He said at minium there should be an internal disciplinary hearing.