The Nelsonville City Council vice president is facing calls to resign after he apparently directed profanity at a Nelsonville firefighter during Monday’s city council meeting.
In a video recording of the meeting, Senior Firefighter Drake Chilcote enters the chambers off camera to have a discussion with Fire Chief Harry Barber about a pressing department matter. Barber, who was present as tech support for the live stream of the meeting, said the two were having a quiet discussion in the back while the meeting continued.
While the city clerk reads an ordinance, Council Vice President Dan Sherman interrupts to ask if council is disturbing the firefighters.
Sherman can then be heard on the recording saying “piece of s---,” which Barber said was directed at him and Chilcote.
Barber said the insult was unacceptable for a public meeting of Nelsonville Council.
“I have a tremendous amount of pride in the city of Nelsonville, [Nelsonville firefighters] conduct ourselves with honor and integrity, we are always professional with the public and other city departments,” Barber said. “It’s a shame our council members, specifically Dan Sherman, can’t conduct themselves in that way.”
Other members of City Council said such behavior is not appropriate conduct for a council member.
Council Member Justin Booth said he addressed the issue privately following the meeting and will make a public statement about council conduct at the next City Council meeting.
“There is no room for that kind of behavior,” Booth said.
Council Member Elizabeth Jones, who did not hear the remark when it happened, said that members of City Council should generally hold themselves to a higher standard.
“I think that it’s important for all of us serving on City Council that we are dedicated to representing ourselves and the city,” Jones said. “There’s no place in council business for rude or inappropriate comments to be made.”
Earlier this year, Jones spearheaded an effort to beef up Nelsonville’s code of conduct after inappropriate and homophobic Facebook messages made by the now-former Council Member Greg Smith in January.
The Code of Conduct was updated in April. It says that members of the city government should “treat all staff as professionals” and should not “publicly criticize employees.”
The rules state state that “councilmembers (sic) who intentionally and repeatedly do not follow proper conduct may be reprimanded or formally censured by the Council, lose seniority or committee assignments or other privileges afforded by the Council.”
In a written message, Chilcote said he “would like this issue addressed.”
Barber said he does not tolerate what he believes was bullying.
“I will not stand by and allow my members to be bullied by a city council member,” Barber said. “Dan Sherman should not represent the city of Nelsonville in any capacity.”
Nelsonville City Council candidate Gregg Clement — who has been critical of Sherman in the past — agreed. Speaking on Viewpoint, a morning radio talk show aired on WAIS, Clement called for Sherman’s resignation.
“Mr. Sherman — going back from almost four years ago when he went on council — it’s just over and over and over he does this kind of thing,” Clement said. “He needs to resign immediately, and if he doesn’t resign by next City Council meeting, council needs to take action.”
Sherman has been at the center of several controversies in 2021, including allegations from Clement’s wife that she was the victim of a harassment campaign by him, and holding a chili cook-off on the town square without obtaining a permit.
Sherman declined to comment for this story.