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| 2 min. read | by Seth Kinker, skinker@thesuntimesnews.com|

The city of Chelsea voted 4-3 to approve a request from the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to adopt a Resolution of Support of the Equality Act, a bill passed by the House and currently pending in the Senate.

At their Oct. 2 meeting, the HRC passed a motion recommending council draft a resolution of the Equality Act, they made the recommendation to draft a resolution of support because they stated that it’s consistent with the Chelsea Non-Discrimination Ordinance.

During the Nov. 4 city council meeting, councilmember Peter Feeney thanked the HRC for bringing awareness to the issues but said he had issues with the request.

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“Number one, we’re a partisan body,” said Feeney. “That presents a challenge when we weigh in on incomplete political matters. The second issue I had when thinking about it, we don’t have any precedent and I was curious about what that precedent would be following.”

Feeney recognized the HRC was trying to make a difference but said he wasn’t sure this was the way to do so.

Mayor Melissa Johnson echoed Feeney’s concerns.

“As you all know I supported the Non-Discrimination Ordinance in Chelsea from start to finish,” said Johnson. “I also have a concern it’s inconsistent with our charter. In particular, our charter section 8 (4a), states a resolution shall be limited to matters required or permitted to be done by the charter or by state or federal laws or pertaining to the internal affairs or concerns of the city government. This is an external affair and therefore I think it exceeds the boundaries of what we use resolutions for in our city.”

Johnson also said at best, the request was premature because the bill was still pending in the Senate and had to be reviewed by the judiciary committee and therefore wasn’t waiting on a full Senate vote at this time.

Following the initial vote, council members Jane Pacheco, Rick Catherman, and Cheri Albertson voted in support of the request to adopt a resolution while Johnson, Feeney, and council member Frank Hammer voted no.

Councilmember Tony Ianelli, who initially abstained from voting, was told he had to vote unless there was a conflict of interest.

When Johnson took a hand vote on the matter, Albertson, Ianelli, Pacheco and Catherman were in support of adopting while Johnson, Feeney, and Hamer voted against it.

Johnson stated that while the vote passed, the city didn’t have a draft of a resolution either, something that will need to be drafted and subsequently approved by the council.

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