NEW BRITAIN – The Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce has not yet scheduled a special meeting to discuss a crude Facebook post by Chamber President Timothy Stewart.
Gennaro Bizzarro, chairman of the Chamber’s board, told The Herald that he’s been checking schedules of board members and hopes to schedule a special meeting soon. Stewart, a former mayor, came under fire Wednesday after a screenshot of a Facebook comment made by him was made public. In the comment, Stewart referred to female Democratic U.S. representatives wearing white during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address as “Bitches in heat.”
The former mayor has since apologized for the comments on his Facebook page and has resigned from the city’s School Building Committee and the Mattabassett District Commission. Mayor Erin Stewart, Tim’s daughter, asked for his resignation and accepted it effective immediately.
Bizzarro placed Tim Stewart on administrative leave from the Chamber on Wednesday, but said he and the board will “review our bylaws to ascertain what disciplinary authority we possess and the process by which it can be employed.”
Democrats, though, are pressing the issue. Alderwoman Eva Magnuszewski and Alderman Carlo Carlozzi issued a press release Thursday asking for an update from Bizzarro about Tim Stewart’s employment with the Chamber and details about his employment. The duo also asked if there was the potential for conflict of interest in whatever next move the Chamber makes.
“You are the city’s current corporation counsel, a position you also held under Mr. Stewart when he was mayor. Do you believe either of those facts constitute a conflict of interest in your ability to handle this matter?” Carlozzi and Magnuszewski said in the joint statement.
Lindsay Farrell, executive director of the Democrat-backing Connecticut Working Families Party, encouraged constituents to call the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce to demand Tim Stewart’s firing.
Several members of the Chamber’s board told The Herald that Bizzarro had asked members to not comment on the situation until after the special board meeting. Paulette Fox, one board member, said she and other members echo Bizzarro’s condemnation Tuesday of the Facebook post.
Bizzarro did not respond when asked if he has asked for Tim Stewart’s resignation.
This is not the first time Tim Stewart has been in hot water for his Facebook comments. In November 2017, the former mayor was criticized for commenting, “the inmates are running the neighborhood,” on a Facebook post referring to residents of the North and Oak streets area.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.