Fairview mayor removes Pledge of Allegiance from council meetings
The recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance was noticeably absent from the agenda at the first two Fairview City Council meetings under the leadership of new Mayor Brian Cooper.
Cooper was sworn in as Fairview's mayor on Wednesday, Jan. 2. He removed the pledge from the council's agenda on Jan. 2 and Wednesday, Jan. 16, without advance discussion with councilors.
City Councilor Natalie Voruz objected to the pledge's removal during the council's meeting on Jan. 16.
"I would think that would be a council decision whether or not we say the pledge," she said.
Cooper explained that he removed the pledge because it was implemented by a former mayor in 2005, and the addition was not discussed between councilors then.
Under Fairview City Charter, the mayor sets the agenda, and the decision is under the mayor's purview.
Voruz said Cooper should have at least discussed the issue first before removing the pledge.
Pointing to the flag, Voruz said, "That to me represents patriotism, and it's something I take pride in every time at the beginning of a council meeting. While the mayor and some councilors may feel it's not necessary — then they can sit out and not participate in it — but you've taken my right to participate in it."
Cooper said the initial decision was not implemented for patriotic reasons, and he did agree that he should have informed the council he wanted to discuss the issue before removing the pledge.
Councilors will discuss the pledge at the City Council goal-setting work session from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at Fairview City Hall, 1300 N.E. Village St.
Cooper will not object to the council's will if they want to recite the pledge at the opening of future meetings.
"But we will be doing it for the right reasons, and not forced to because I said so," Cooper said.