BRISTOL – The Bristol Board of Public Works Thursday evening voted to bring a motion before the next City Council meeting to potentially adopt a flag policy that was set by Berlin. This policy would allow for the flying of only the national flag, state and city or town flags.
This comes in light of conflict regarding whether City Hall should fly a flag representing the LGBTQ equity movement.
Thomas Berrill of the Coalition for the Preservation of Marriage and Innocence has come before City Council a number of times over the last year condemning the flying of flags representing the LGBTQ community. He has requested that if such flags were to be flown that the city should consider flying a flag representing the interests of marriage as one man and one woman in Christian traditions.
Laura Minor, area resident, suggested that an application be created and available on the city website for those who wish to apply to have a flag flown on city property and that it should be submitted to the mayor’s office and date-stamped. She shared a similar document discussed in South Windsor. She also felt that the mayor should be obligated to share with members of City Council any applications that come forward on the flag topic and that any applications should be placed around 60 days in advance of a council meeting for approval.
Mayor Jeff Caggiano said that he was aware the potential addition for a flag policy was being discussed in the Board of Public Works just prior to the November 2021 election.
Ray Rogozinski, director of Bristol Public Works, said he had reached out to city departments and entities known for flying a variety of flags on their properties for potential insight into their policies and procedures.
Commissioner Dave Hartley said he supported a formal application process for the flying of flags.
“This is a controversial topic sometimes, especially when you’ve got a case coming before the Supreme Court,” said City Councilwoman Cheryl Thibeault, referencing a case coming before the U.S. Supreme Court pertaining to the denial of a request to fly a Christian flag on a flagpole outside Boston City Hall.
“I have to say that I do fall in the camp that believes our city, our state and our national country flag should be the flags that are flown over city properties. I don’t want to pick winners and losers and I feel that sometimes when you make a choice you leave somebody else out,” she continued.
She did say she would want to continue seeing veteran flags flown over parks and suggested the city get in contact with veteran organizations to discuss what flags should fly there.
Others on the board also voiced similar sentiments with similar things of “keeping things simple” and avoiding political or ideological clashes.
Caggiano said he agreed with the general sentiments discussed among the board members and didn’t want to play “winner or loser.” He felt bringing the potential for adopting a policy similar to that of Berlin’s to City Council would make for better discussion and exposure of the topic.