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Pinecrest mayor chided as 'haughty' to residents

By Brittny C. Valdes

A Pinecrest council member wants Mayor Cindy Lerner to cut village residents some more slack when they address the board.

“We simply can’t afford to present ourselves to the public as haughty, aloof and all-knowing,” Bob Ross told the mayor after midnight Wednesday, at the end of a five-hour council meeting that began Tuesday.

He used an example of an incident last month, when a resident was addressing concerns about the future restaurant at Pinecrest Gardens and Mayor Lerner accused her of “red-herrings” in the middle of her speaking time.

“Our responsibility is to listen courteously and respectfully,” Ross said. “It’s inappropriate for us to challenge residents regarding their beliefs or interrupt their presentations with provocations about red-herrings, or vilify them as members of an angry mob.”

Lerner acknowledged that she was in the wrong last month, and she said she should have waited for the woman to sit down.

“I was talking to everybody, not just her,” Lerner said, adding that because she is a lawyer, she is compelled to set the record straight whenever a resident speaks with misinformation.

The mayor then pointed the finger back at Ross by bringing up past incidents when she said he, too, was rude to residents.