The Town Council meeting last night reflected the very best of the Easton community and a decidedly low moment of parliamentary discourse, all within the span of a few hours.
The spiritual high was the moving declaration of support for the people of Israel read by Mayor Megan Cook and a response from Rabbi Peter Hyman of Temple B’nai Israel. It was a moment that moved the entire assembly as the community continued to mourn the tragic loss of life after the Hamas terrorist attack on Jewish communities near the Gaza Strip on October 7th.
Unfortunately, that sense of unity quickly dissipated over what initially appeared to be a minor disagreement on when the Council would vote on a moratorium on approving recreational and medical cannabis operations in Easton.
Council President Frank Gunsallus favored tabling the moratorium vote until the next meeting in early November, when the Council would have more information from the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, which is also studying the issue. Councilmember David Montgomery felt most of the Council was prepared to vote that evening, as per a previous agreement with council members.
In response, Gunsallus, citing powers he believed were bestowed by charter to the Easton council president, announced that he would use his authority alone to table the discussion. The result sparked outrage from Montgomery as fellow council members and the mayor seemed stunned by the rapid change of atmosphere.
Ultimately, the Council agreed to wait another two weeks before voting on the cannabis moratorium. It may take more than a few weeks for the Council to recover from this unnerving and extremely rare display of discourtesy in the town council chamber.