New Britain

New Britain Common Council Calls for Freezing Chamber of Commerce Funds After Controversial Facebook Comment

Mayor says the city does not fund the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce.

Members of the New Britain Common Council are calling for a freeze on Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce funds and for the mayor to reveal all city money provided to the organization until the president of the chamber steps down amid backfire for a controversial comment on Facebook.

Mayor Erin Stewart issued a statement Friday afternoon saying that the city of New Britain does not fund the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce.

Tim Stewart, the former New Britain mayor and current president of the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce, was put on administrative leave earlier this week after posting what some are calling a misogynistic Facebook comment during the State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.

During President Trump's address, Stewart commented, "**tches in heat," below a photo of some female Democratic lawmakers who attended the State of the Union dressed in white in a show of solidarity.

Stewart issued an apology for the comment on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon.

"My comment was wrong and in poor taste in response to a particular time during the speech that I took offense to, Stewart said in his post. "This in no way excuses my behavior and I am deeply sorry to not only the women in my life but to all women for the remark."

He resigned from his positions on the New Britain School Building Committee and Mattabassett District Commission at the request of Mayor Erin Stewart, his daughter.

Several people, including the chairman of the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce, condemned Tim Stewart’s comment.

"I could not be more disappointed in the social media post made last night by Tim Stewart," Gennaro Bizzaro said in a statement. "His choice of words was inexcusable and has no place in modern civil discourse."

The City of New Britain Common Council on Friday released a statement saying members of the council have put forward a petition requesting the mayor reveal all City money, directly and/or indirectly, provided to the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce.

It goes on to say a resolution has been placed on the agenda for the Feb. 13 Common Council meeting to freeze all funds “until the immediate termination or resignation of Tim Stewart as chamber president.”

“Under my leadership, the City’s Economic Development staff was moved back into City Hall several years ago to have autonomy from the Chamber. The two entities remain separated,” Mayor Stewart said in a statement.

The meeting will be held in council chambers on the second floor of city hall, at 27 West Main St. Public participation will begin at 7 p.m.

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