Council voted 4-0 with two abstentions for the censure. Callahan and Councilwoman Anna Hale abstained from the vote, while Councilman Robert Routson was not at Tuesday’s meeting.
It was the first time in recent memory that a local government in the area has formally censured a council member. It was also a first for Monroe council, according to officials.
At a previous meeting, it was determined that Callahan’s comments and behavior did not rise to the charter requirements to remove a council member. Callahan did not return a text, email or phone call from the Journal-News seeking a response to the censure.
Resident Leslie King said she was concerned with Callahan’s comments in July and questioned his “suitability” to serve on council.
During a spirited discussion about mandating local businesses to enforce people wearing masks in July, Callahan said, “(I) wouldn’t vote for that for nothing because I don’t think it is our business to be telling these people to be wearing masks. It’s not up to the government to tell the residents. I think what they should be doing if they feel threatened when they go into Kroger or if they don’t feel like they got social distancing then they should do it on their own.
"Let them make the decision on what they want to do. I’ve not wore a mask yet and I’ve never felt threatened to walk into any store or anywhere and I just disagree with telling people to wear a mask. Next thing you do, you’d be wearing scarves around your head.”
However, there was one resident who was watching the meeting on social media who came to the council meeting to make some comments. Bobbie Drew said the previous residents who spoke to council did not represent her.
While she agreed Callahan said some things out of line, “we need to move on from the Callahan issue and move forward.”