741 Colonel Ledyard Highway  
Ledyard, Connecticut 06339  
Community Relations Committee For  
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion  
Meeting Minutes  
Chairman S. Naomi  
Special Meeting  
Wednesday, June 5, 2024  
6:30 PM  
Town Hall Annex - Hybrid Format  
In -Person: Council Chambers, Town Hall Annex Building  
Remote Participation: Information Noted Below:  
Join Zoom Meeting from your Computer, Smart Phone or Tablet:  
Or by Audio Only: Telephone: +1 646 558 8656; +Meeting ID: 882 3597 0547; Passcode:  
the Meeting was called to order by Councilor Brunelle at 6:29 p.m. at the Annex  
Meeting Room - Town Hall Annex Building.  
Councilor Brunelle welcomed all to the Hybrid Meeting. She stated for the Town  
Council Community Relations Committee and members of the Public who were  
participating via video conference that the remote meeting information was available  
on the Agenda that was posted on the Town’s Website - Granicus-Insite Meeting  
April Brunelle  
Gary Paul  
Gary St. Vil  
In addition, the following were present:  
S. Naomi RodriguezTown Council Chairman  
Jessica Buhle Town Councilor  
Carman Garcia-Irizarry Town Councilor  
Roxanne MaherAdministrative Assistant  
Ms. Adrianne Parade, 5 Birtch Street, Ledyard, stated that she submitted a letter  
dated June 4, 2024 to the Town Council and the Community Relations Committee for  
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion regarding the Pride Pizza Event. She stated that she  
would like to begin her remarks by reading her letter and email responses she  
received as follows:  
“June 2, 2024  
Dear Town Council,  
I am incredibly grateful for the recent interest in supporting the minority  
communities in our town. It has been a challenge for the children of our schools to  
express themselves as, in a small rural town, it is easier for them to try to “blend in”  
instead of proudly displaying their cultural differences. Children learn from the  
community, and our community has recently shown incredible strides in diversity,  
equity, and inclusion. Thank you to the (previously named) Community Relations  
Committee and (recently renamed) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee.  
Communities are stronger when the minorities are celebrated and treated as equals.  
It is difficult for the white heterosexual male majority to understand that minorities  
need to be lifted up to level the playing field. A person in a position of privilege can  
certainly feel threatened when they are no longer able to hold onto that previously  
established generational advantage, and I am truly sorry for those councilors who  
feel threatened by the upcoming pride month celebrations.  
I support CRC/DEI organizing a Pride event because Pride month is a celebration of  
a historically oppressed community, and we should not be threatened by this.  
I think it's important that our town government shows support for the LGBTQIA+  
community in hosting events and I appreciate that CRC/DEI is taking steps to do so.  
Being gay is not a lifestyle choice, and I do not appreciate those in a position of  
power stating this falsehood in official town correspondence.  
I would like town council and CRC/DEI to commemorate Pride Month by making our  
LGBTQIA+ communities feel welcome, appreciated, and valued.  
Those holding positions of power in our community should remember that they  
represent everyone in our community. There are clearly growing pains regarding  
the way in which to celebrate our community, but a healthy dialogue is the way  
forward. I respect that the town is cognizant of the town budget and the cost of pizza  
for a community event. Perhaps if the cost of the pizza is too high, there may be  
people in the community willing to donate funds to show support for Pride Month. I  
am willing to contribute funds to this and I would like the community to know that I  
celebrate and honor my LGBTQIA+ neighbors.  
Adrienne Parad  
Ledyard resident  
Ms. Parad stated that she received a couple of responses to her June 2, 2024 letter  
from a Town Council Member who reiterated a concern that the Pizza Party should  
not occur because town procedures were violated.  
Ms. Parad went on to note that she had questions about what town procedures were  
violated, but because she did not get a response she submitted a second letter dated  
June 4, 2024 as follows:  
“June 4, 2024  
To: Community Relations Committee For Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Town of  
Re: Special Regular Meeting June 5, 2024, Section VII. New Business  
Dear Committee Members,  
As expressed in my previous letter and email correspondence, I am highly  
appreciative of the efforts to make our marginalized populations more visible and  
celebrated in our community. I am, unfortunately, highly concerned about the lack of  
transparency from Councilors Ryan and Paul. Counselor Ryan repeatedly stated  
that he is concerned about a procedural technicality. However, when asked about  
this multiple times in the e-mail thread, he did not address the question of HOW the  
procedure was violated.  
Per the Mission Statement of the Community Relations committee, signed by  
Counselor Paul and adopted September 21, 2022:  
“The Community Relations Committee is tasked with being both an advocate  
and a resource for the community by listening, communicating, and engaging  
with the community, educating ourselves, standing up to discrimination and  
racism in all forms. We do this by encouraging dialogue, promoting unity and  
understanding, and learning from one another as we continue to build a  
strong community together, making sure no-one is left behind.”  
Ms. Parade stated I do not see how a consensus agreement between the members of  
the committee to have a pride day celebration violates this, and when asked  
specifically about which procedures were violated, I received no response or  
clarification. I only received a repeated statement that procedures were violated  
without any additional information.  
This is certainly concerning, but I am even more concerned about the lack of respect  
for our LGBTQIA+ community, as none of my concerns documented in the letter  
were addressed by either counselor. Our community needs to show that we honor,  
respect, and value all our neighbors. We need to make our community a safe place  
for minorities and LGBTQIA+ community members to call home. I do not feel that  
sugar-coating bigotry in the disguise of procedural violations is a good look for our  
Town Council, and I truly would like this to be addressed on the record by the  
counselors in question. Should I be granted the opportunity to speak at any meeting,  
I will be reading my statements.  
Adrienne Parad  
Ledyard Resident”  
Councilor Paul thanked Ms. Parad for her comments, noting that he had not seen the  
email response between Ms. Parad and Councilor Ryan. Chairman Rodriguez stated  
the email thread was attached to tonight’s agenda New Business Item #1.  
Ms. Janis Vajdos, 11 Cranwood Road, Ledyard, stated she was excited to see that  
there was going to be a Pride Event in Ledyard this year. She stated that she  
supported the event and that she thought it was something that Community Relations  
Committee for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion should be supporting. She stated that  
she was disappointed to learn that there was no funding to support the event, and that  
it would require donations from Town Councilors or others who would like to donate  
to the Event. She stated if there was an opportunity where citizens could donate to a  
specific Fund, that they make the information available so that citizens could  
contribute to off-set the costs for Events such like this one and others. She stated that  
she wanted to show her support for Event and hoped that any controversy that has  
arisen about how the Event was advertised could be settled so that the Event could  
move forward to support the LGBTQIA+ Community in Ledyard.  
Mr. Bill Thorne, 3 Adios Lane, Ledyard, attending remotely, stated he understood  
the Event and that he thought that it was fine that community supported it. However,  
he questioned whether the Town paid for any other events such as Veterans Day,  
Memorial Day, July 4th, etc. in terms of using town funds for those types of events.  
He stated that using town funds for this Event may set a precedent.  
Chairman Rodriguez stated for the first two-years of the Black History Month that  
she paid for the Prizes that were awarded. She stated for this year, which was the  
third year of the Black History Contest that both she and Councilor St. Vil provided  
the funds out of their own pockets. She went on to note for the Pride Pizza Event that  
she was going to pay for the food and drinks and that Councilor Brunelle was going  
to pay for the rest of the cost. She stated that no town funds would be used at all.  
Mr. Thorne stated that he had heard that it was going to be an effort to get the town to  
pay for the upcoming Event. Chairman Rodriguez stated that was incorrect  
information. Mr. Thorne stated that he did not see a problem with how the Event was  
being funded.  
Mr. Jacob Hurt, 6 Nugget Hill Drive, Gales Ferry, stated at the Community  
Relations Committee for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion’s April 17, 2024 meeting he  
asked the Committee to consider a Pride Event and he thanked them for putting one  
forward. He stated Pride Celebrations were occurring all over Nation, and across the  
State of Connecticut Capitol in Hartford, and in Groton and Stonington. He stated the  
Events have typically included a gathering and flag raising at either a Town Hall or a  
Library or other Municipal Building, with appearances or sometimes remarks by  
Elected Officials. He stated that he did not know if they had pizza or not. He  
encouraged this Committee to follow thru, get through any procedural hurdles, and  
have a gathering and flag raising that would take place at the Town Hall or Bill  
Library. He stated they were far from alone from doing this, stating that it was time to  
move forward, noting that the Navy, Coast Guard, Pfizer and others were supporting  
Pride Month. He stated that these employers were not all of Ledyard’s residents but it  
covered a significant portion of them. He stated being recognized and accepted by  
your own government was lifesaving. He stated there was no room for antiquated  
views of the Welfare Bureau for the constituents of this State, noting that there was  
no cost to acknowledge their humanity. He stated this was not a Group of People who  
were looking for anything special, noting that they were parents, partners, siblings,  
children who were deserving of the same life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that  
unites them. However, he stated that they have denied for a long time, as you and I as  
gender and heterosexuals have not. He stated if the saying was true that the “The  
Government that governs best, was that governs the closest” than it was incumbent  
upon us to be different from the Nation-wide rhetoric, and the rhetoric at the State  
Government Level, which through legislation, fear, and mis-information that this  
group was being singled out. He stated we have a chance to set a precedent to set  
ourselves apart as a governing body here tonight. He encouraged the Community  
Relations Committee for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion to continue to move forward  
with that. He thanked the Committee for putting the Event, and that he looked  
forward to having the procedural hurdles being cleared and having the Event.  
Ms. Barbara Bouchard, 13 Deer Lane, Ledyard, stated that she fully supported the  
Event., and that she was excited to attend. She stated that was a teacher and citizen of  
Ledyard and that she was willing to pitch-in and conduct a fundraiser to help the one  
or two people who were paying for the Event; and to keep it going in the future.  
MOTION to approve the Community Relations Committee Minutes of April 17, 2024  
Moved by Councilor Paul, seconded by Councilor St. Vil  
VOTE: 3 - 0 Approved and so declared  
Continued discussion and possible action draft a schedule for Public Information Forums to  
present to residents the types of services the town offers; how to access services and the  
authority residents should direct concerns regarding services.  
Councilor Brunelle stated that she has reserved space for the Community Relations  
Committee for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at the following Farmers’ Markets:  
· July 5, 2024 - Red-White & Blue - Feature First Responders and Volunteers.  
· July 10, 2024 - Bee Bubbly - Feature the Town’s Land Use Commissions.  
August 21, 2024 - Old Folks Day - Feature Mental Health Services, Heating Fuel  
& Utilities Assistance, Meal Delivery Services for homebound, Linda C. Davis  
Food Pantry, No interest Home Rehabilitation Loan, etc.  
Councilor Paul stated he would pass along the literature and other materials regarding  
the town services that the Committee handed out at the Farmers’ Market in previous  
years, noting that he may not be available to attend all three of the Farmers’ Market  
Chairman Rodriguez stated that she had information regarding Mental Health  
Services and that she would invite the Brian Dagle Healing Hearts Foundation to  
participate with the Community Relations Committee for Diversity, Equity &  
Inclusion at the Farmers’ Market on August 21, 2024 (Old Folks Day).  
Continued discussion and possible action to identify various town venues to host “Informal  
Conversations in the Park” to engage residents in discussions regarding their concerns and  
their ideas for potential solutions  
Long Pond on Lantern Hill Road (Showcase the Lantern Hill Waterfront Park, (2)  
Provide some history regarding Long Pond; (3) Provide information regarding the  
importance of preventing invasive plants from being transferred from different bodies of  
water, and (3) Engage residents)  
Winthrop Park near the Gales Ferry Community Center (Town Council April 10, 2024  
meeting Mr. Kelly expressed concerns regarding the tennis courts, pickle ball courts, engage  
residents etc.).  
· Lantern Hill Waterfront Park (Long Pond)  
Councilor Brunelle stated that she met with Mrs. Betsy Graham at Long Pond to  
discuss scheduling an Outreach Program in the Fall, 2024. She stated it was a  
beautiful area, noting that Parks & Recreation would be putting in a pavilion,  
picnic tables, and a boat launch at the Park. She stated that Mrs. Graham was  
excited to: (1) Showcase the Lantern Hill Waterfront Park, (2) Provide some  
history regarding Long Pond; (3) Provide information regarding the importance of  
preventing invasive plants from being transferred from different bodies of water.  
· Christy Hill Park on East Drive (see next item below)  
· Winthrop Park near the Gales Ferry Community Center and or Christy Hill  
Park - Councilor St. Vil noted that the Parks, Recreation & Senior Citizens  
Commission were meeting on June 11, 2024 and that he would following up with  
Director Scott Johnson Jr. about scheduling events at these Parks.  
Discussion regarding ideas to increase communication/transparency with residents.  
· LED Digital Message Signs (Gales Ferry and Ledyard Center)  
Councilor Paul noted that he did not see the May 20th & 21st Fiscal Year 2024/2025  
Budget Referendum publicized on the Message Sign. He stated that he hoped the  
town could do more with the signs going forward.  
Chairman Rodriguez stated the May 20th & 21st Fiscal Year 2024/2025 Budget  
Referendum was publicized on the Message Sign, noting that there was also a Budget  
Vote Banner on the fence at the Gales Ferry School and on the fence at the Town  
Green in Ledyard Cetner.  
· Host Booths at the Farmers Market (see above Old Business Item #1)  
Discuss starting a relationship with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council to help foster  
communication and mutual points of interest.  
Councilor Brunelle suggested this item be set aside for now.  
Chairman Rodriguez noted that November was Indigenous People month and she  
stated that she would not mind organizing something with the Mashantucket Pequot  
Tribal Council; and she questioned whether the Community Relations Committee for  
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion would be open to doing that. The Committee agreed.  
Chairman Rodriguez invited Councilor St. Vil to join her in meeting with the  
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council.  
Research Community Organizations that provide Opioid and Substance Abuse Disorder,  
Recovery, and Prevention Programs relative to the use of the Opioid Settlement Funding.  
Councilor Brunelle questioned whether the Committee Members have reached out  
any local non-profit Organizations to lean about the programs they provide.  
Chairman Rodriguez noted at the Finance Committee’s June 5, 2024 meeting earlier  
this evening that Mayor Allyn, III, offered to invite SERAC to give a 10-15  
presentation at a Town Council Meeting. She continued by stating the two  
Emergency Narcan Kits that the Town paid for with the Opioid Settlement money,  
through the Ledyard Prevention Coalition were installed noting that one Kit was located  
at the Town Green in Ledyard Center and one Kit was located at the Community Center  
in Gales Ferry. She stated the Ledyard Prevention Coalition would be periodically  
checking and restocking the Kits as needed. She went on to state residents were aware  
and happy that the Emergency Narcan Kits were available. However, she stated that they  
need to get the word out that the Kits were available, stating that they hoped to have less  
overdoses in our community.  
Councilor Brunelle stated that she would work on the “Notify Me” and Social Media to  
help get the word out about the Emergency Narcan Kits.  
Councilor Buhle stated during tonight’s Finance Committee Meeting she suggested the  
Town purchase Narcan to distribute to the community at perhaps the Farmers Market or  
that the town hold a separate event to distribute the Narcan such as a Drug Take Back  
Day. She commented on the importance of educating the community on how to  
administer Narcan.  
Chairman Rodriguez stated two years ago Ledge Light Health District gave  
demonstrations on how to administer Narcan at the Farmers Market and distributed the  
medication. She stated that she participated in one of the demonstrations that day, noting  
at the direction of Ledge Light Health District that she now carries Narcan in her car,  
because she was out in the community and by having the medication that she would be  
able to help someone should the need arise.  
Ms. Barbara Bouchard, 13 Deer Lane, Ledyard, stated as a former High School  
teacher that a good way to get information out to the community and to parents was  
through the High School Health Teachers. She stated with the Teachers having a  
discussion about Narcan that the kids would then go home and talk about it with their  
friends and parents, noting that the community would then know. The Committee  
thanked Ms. Bouchard for her comment, noting that it was a good suggestion.  
Discuss Community Relations Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Pizza Party  
The following Correspondence was received regarding the Pride Pizza Party:  
1. Councilor Paul - Councilor Ryan email thread dated 5/30/2024 re: Pride Pizza  
Picnic posted on social media  
2. Ms. Merando - Councilor Ryan email thread dated 6/3/2024 re: Pride Month  
-Pizza Picnic  
Ms. Parad-Councilor Ryan -email-thread dated 6/3/2024 re: Pride Month  
4. Ms. Parad email dated 6/4/2024 re: Pride Month  
5. Mr. Jelden email dated 6/4/2024 re: Pride Month-Pizza Picnic-- Community  
Relations Cmt for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion  
Councilor Brunelle stated that she announced the Pride Pizza Party Event on social  
media without having an official discussion. Therefore, she wanted to have a  
discussion regarding the Pride Pizza Parth this evening to make it official, and make  
sure no rules were broken.  
Councilor Paul stated the because the Community Relations Committee for Diversity,  
Equity, & Inclusion was a government Committee made up of elected officials, that  
they had procedures and rules that they had to follow. He went on to state because  
there were no minutes or discussion regarding a Pride Pizza Party that members of  
the Town Council such as himself, Councilor Ryan, and others had no idea about the  
Party. He stated he wanted to make it very clear that no one wanted to discriminate  
against anybody, noting that he was a believer in supporting everybody.  
Councilor Paul went on to state that he did not have a problem with somebody  
celebrating whatever they believed in. He stated the problem was not a pizza party, a  
flag or a parade, etc. noting as an elected official of the Town Council that his job  
was to make sure people were not discriminated against. He stated everybody  
deserved to live, however, he stated not everybody sees things the same way as others  
do. He stated there was a line between “Support” and “Host” , noting that “Hosting”  
meant that they were doing this and that they were representing the entire Town  
Council. He stated previous Community Relations Committee’s role was  
“supportive” explaining that their job was to be a resource and to support. He noted  
as an example for the Black History Month Contest, which the Committee had  
lengthy discussions on, that the Committee offered support stating that they did not  
host that event. He stated they offered support by having the students be recognized  
for their work at a Town Council meeting, which he thought was great.  
Councilor Paul continued by stating that he personally did not like government being  
involved in anyone’s business. He stated in talking to a friend and a family member  
who were part of the LGBTQIA+ Community, that they questioned why government  
had to stand up for them, stating that they just wanted to be treated fairly, and would  
probably not attend an event such as a Pride Pizza Party, but that they did have  
friends that would probably attend the Party. Councilor Paul stated there were a lot of  
minority groups, and he questioned whether they were going to do something like the  
Pizza Party for others.  
Councilor Paul addressed Ms. Parad’s statement: “……It is difficult for the white  
heterosexual male majority to understand that minorities need to be lifted up to level  
the playing field. A person in a position of privilege…. and he stated this statement  
was discriminatory and not a fair statement. He stated that he was not saying that  
people were not discriminated against; and that he believed there were a lot of  
minorities that deserve the same thing. However, he questioned whether it was the  
government’s job to host those events, or was it their job to allow groups to come in,  
support them, and lift them up.  
Councilor Paul questioned whether hosting a Pride Pizza Party was setting a  
precedence and whether they were exposing themselves to liability and legal issues;  
when another group comes in, that half the town does not support. He questioned  
whether the Community Relations Committee for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion was  
going to offer another group the same thing they were doing for LGBTQIA+  
Community. He stated the question he has raised was “Where do they draw that line,  
without discriminating another group”, has not been answered.  
Councilor Paul stated that he wholeheartedly believed that everyone on the Town  
Council did not think that LGBTQIA+ Community should not have an event.  
However, he stated they were looking at the Community Relations Committee for  
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion hosting a Pride Pizza Party from the perspective that  
they were a government sanctioned Committee that did not discuss the initiative. He  
stated it felt like something was done in the name of a Town Committee that no one  
knew about until they saw it on a social media post. He stated this was not how town  
government worked on any event, noting that these things should be discussed at a  
public meeting, during which time the public would have a chance to comment,  
noting that he appreciated the comments that were provided this evening. He stated  
past Community Relations Committee did not fund events, noting that it has all been  
volunteered. He stated as Chairman Rodriguez stated earlier this evening, that she has  
done the Black History Month Contest, noting that she has done a great job, noting  
that the Committee did not host the event, but that they supported it.  
Councilor Paul concluded his remarks by stating as a town sanctioned government  
Committee that their job was to govern and to legislate, not to throw a party for  
anyone. He expressed concern by hosting a Pride Pizza Party that they were opening  
the door for other groups and potential liability, if they do not do the same for others.  
He stated his concerns had nothing to do with how people chose to live.  
Councilor Brunelle stated as the Chairman of the Community Relations Committee  
for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion that it was always her idea that the Committee  
would be hosting events for the community, noting that part of their Mission  
Statement was “engaging the community”. She stated that she was happy to know  
that they were doing the Black History Month Activities/Contest. She stated the  
Committee had discussions regarding the Black History Month, however, there was  
no official vote. She also noted they worked with Lucille’s Restaurant in Ledyard  
Center where they had a Poetry Slam, noting that the Community Relations  
Committee did not vote. She stated that they then had the Woman’s History Month  
Poetry Slam at Lucille’s Restaurant, which was a co-hosted event. Therefore, she  
stated when it came time for Pride Month that it was always in her mind, although  
she did not speak it because it was not time to speak it. She stated unfortunately the  
Committee’s May 15, 2024 meeting was cancelled, noting if it had not been  
cancelled that they would have had the Pride Event. Just like she previously  
discussed hosting a Senior Day for the Senior in the community stating that she  
believed they needed a day to be celebrated. She stated that it has been her hope to  
steer this Community Relations Committee in the correct direction and not to just sit  
here and listen to and deal with complaints, but to go with their Mission Statement to  
engage the community, to be part of the community, lifting up the community,  
listening to the community, bringing the community together. She stated that it  
should not be “What about Me?” noting that if they had a Childrens Day that the  
Adults were going to complain that they did not have an Adult Day. She stated that it  
was not about that, stating that it was about helping the communities that need to be  
help. She stated Black History Month was very important, Women’s History Month  
was very important, Pride Month was very important, noting that was why cities and  
towns around them were engaging with it, noting that they were doing it on a  
government level and on a municipal stage. She stated that there would be other  
events coming along through the year such as Indigenous People Day. She stated that  
if there were procedures that she did not follow it was because she just did not want  
to follow them, she stated she was brand new this year and that she was doing the  
best that she could. She stated because they did not vote on them in the past that it did  
not hit her that they had to vote on this one, too.  
Councilor Paul addressed the need to vote on proposals, explaining that they had to  
have the item on the Agenda, they have to discuss it, it has to be made public, and  
that they had to at least have a consensus. He went on to addressed Hosting Events,  
stating that when they host something they were taking on that responsibility. He  
stated that he agreed that they need to lift up the difference diverse groups in their  
community. However, he suggested they work to get other Organizations involved,  
and for the Committee to provide a supportive role. He addressed the liability to the  
town if they allowed one group to raise their flag and then denied another group.  
Councilor St. Vil stated he read Councilor Paul’s emails and that he respected him as  
a Town Councilor, and that he took his job seriously. However, he stated that he  
holistically disagreed with his comments. He stated he disagreed on the premise, that  
he expressed this evening that being an “Us versus Them”. He stated that these were  
people who were in their community, noting that they were our brothers, sisters. He  
stated what drew him to Ledyard was that he could have a conversation with his  
neighbor and he did not feel that he was any different. He stated that applied to  
anyone on this planet, noting that this was about equality. He stated imagine if you  
had five kids, and did not have enough money to buy a birthday cake for all five kids,  
do you think that you should not sign Happy Birthday to none of them. Or do you  
think you should do what you could for the one that could. He stated that this was  
what this was all about, noting that he was speaking from a passionate perspective,  
noting that this one hit close to home because he is a minority. He stated what he has  
heard people say is that “I don’t recognize you”. Councilor Paul questioned the  
reason they would want the Government to recognize them and not the people to  
recognize them. Councilor St. Vil stated because it was his Government. He noted as  
Councilor Brunelle stated that the Committee did talk about it (Pride Pizza Party),  
noting that they could go back and watch videos. He stated Councilor Brunelle stated  
that these were some of the things that we want to celebrate, noting that they talked  
about Indigenous People Month, and they all nodded their heads, stating the  
Councilor Brunelle took action on it.  
Councilor Paul stated that he supported everyone, and that he does that on his own.  
He stated his concern was the legality, questioning whether they were putting the  
town at a liability by hosting an event rather than supporting it. He stated that this  
was the reason he wanted the Committee to have this discussion. He stated it was  
never about not supporting groups in the community, noting that every person has  
the right to be lifted up, and not be discriminated against, stating that he would be the  
first person to go defend someone. He stated they were not discussing whether they  
were putting the town at-risk by hosting versus supporting. Councilor Brunelle  
responded stating “No”. Councilor Paul asked whether Councilor Brunelle knew that  
for a fact.  
Chairman Rodriguez stated in past years and in the most recent Black History Month  
Activities/Contest that the letter she sent to the School Superintendent and to the  
School Principals and Teachers stated: “The Town Council’s Community Relations  
Committee” and “The Town Council’s Community Relations Committee for  
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion”, noting that they have been hosting and supporting the  
event and they have not been sued yet. She stated the letter was approved by  
Councilor Paul and Councilor Saums in the past, and the same words were in the  
letter that Councilor St. Vil sent to the School Superintendent and to the School  
Principals and Teachers this year. Therefore, she stated it was the purview of this  
Committee to do what they like.  
Councilor Paul stated if they had this discussion a month ago, that they would not be  
having all of this controversy, because it would have come down to the fact that it  
was a legality issue for him; and that he did not believe in the Government getting  
involved in peoples lives and business. He stated he did not want it to appear that the  
town was picking and choosing specific groups. He stated that he did not have an  
issue with a Pride Event or other Events, noting that his concern was that there was  
no discussion, and procedures were not followed. He stated a blanket statement does  
not cover the ground of what they were doing.  
Mr. Bill Thorne, 3 Adios Lane, Ledyard, attending remotely asked if he could make a  
comment. Councilor Brunelle apologized stating Public Comment was not allowed at  
this time in the meeting, noting that this was for the Committee to discuss.  
Councilor Brunelle stated her final comment was that part of the Committee’s  
Mission Statement was to “Engage the Community”, noting that she saw this as  
doing things with the community, which was hosting events and doing events. She  
stated if this was taking on some legal risks then they were taking on some legal  
risks, because that was what they were doing. She stated they were being here for  
their community. She stated that she doubted that hosting a Pizza Party for their  
town’s Pride Members would end up in litigation. She stated that she was a member  
of the LGBTQIA+ Community, she wanted to make it clear and to let people know  
that they were here. She stated that she was happily married to a man, but that does  
not mean that she was not part of the community.  
She stated with that, she would call to vote on the Pride Pizza Party.  
MOTION for the Community Relations Committee for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion  
host a Pride Pizza Party, as has been already posted on facebook and other areas, for  
the date that was provided (June 29, 2024)  
Moved by Councilor Brunelle, seconded by Councilor St. Vil  
Discussion: (see above).  
2 - 0 - 1 Approved and so declared (Paul Abstained)  
April Brunelle  
Gary St. Vil  
Brunelle and St. Vil  
Discuss Pride Flag.  
Councilor Brunelle opened a discussion for the Town to raise the Pride Flag for  
LGBTQIA+ Community.  
Councilor Paul questioned where they were considering raising the Pride Flag, noting that he  
would again refer legality, stating that he thought the town should obtain a legal opinion  
before taking such action. He stated the town had a Policy to only fly the American Flag and  
the State of Connecticut Flag on municipal flag poles. He stated a Massachusetts town was  
sued because they raised the flag for one group but denied raising the flag for another group.  
He stated his argument was simply based on the legality.  
Chairman Rodriguez stated there was noting written in the Town Charter about the raising of  
flags. She questioned the policy Councilor Paul was referring to. Councilor Paul stated he  
was referring to the Mayor’s Policy. Chairman Rodriguez stated the Mayor had an unwritten  
Mayoral Policy that he and former Mayor John Rodolico followed. She stated for  
transparency that she wanted to make that clear.  
Councilor Brunelle stated that she looked on-line to find out what towns had a Flag Policy,  
noting that Ledyard did not have one. She stated that there has been litigation filed because a  
Mayor did not want to approve a Parade, noting that the suit cost the Mayor $40,000. She  
stated if the town has raised a flag for others, such as a flag for officers or anything else,  
then they have already set the precedent.  
Chairman Rodriguez a flag was raised, however, as soon as the Mayor saw the flag he had it  
taken down under his personal policy; and the flag was taken down.  
Councilor Brunelle stated the Committee could bring the request to raise the Pride Flag to  
the Town Council. However, she stated it seemed that it would be under the Mayor’s privy.  
Chairman Rodriguez stated the Mayor that he had another idea, stating that they could raise  
the Pride Flag on the flagpole by the monument behind the Library, where they typically laid  
the wreath for the Memorial Day Parade. She stated the flagpole was not too far off of Route  
117, Colonel Ledyard Highway. She stated the Mayor did not want any flags, other than the  
American Flag and the State Flag, in front of Town Hall. She stated for transparency, this  
was the conversation she had with the Mayor.  
Mr. Bill Thorne, 3 Adios Lane, Ledyard, attending remotely. Councilor Brunelle  
apologized stating Public Comment was not allowed at this time in the meeting,  
noting that this was for the Committee to discuss. Mr. Thorne stated that he liked the  
democratic process.  
Councilor St. Vil stated he was an advocate to raise the Pride Flag on any flagpole  
that was available. He stated it was a step in the right direction, noting that it was  
consistent with the Committee’s mission and vision. Therefore, he stated they should  
take advantage of this as quickly as possible. However, he stated the process was not  
clear to him to ensure it was going to happen after this meeting, questioning whether  
they would have to wait until after the Town Council’s meeting next week.  
Chairman Rodriguez if the Community Relations Committee for Diversity, Equity &  
Inclusion would like her to include a discussion about raising the Pride Flag on next  
week’s Town Council Meeting scheduled on June 12, 2024 that she would.  
Councilor ST. Vil and Councilor Brunelle stated that they would like the raising of  
the Pride Flag to be included on the June 12, 2024 Town Council Agenda.  
Chairman Rodriguez suggested the Community Relations Committee for Diversity,  
Equity & Inclusion vote to move the raising of the Pride Flag forward to the Town  
Council. She stated with the Committee’s power that she would speak to the Mayor  
about when to raise the Pride Flag.  
Councilor Paul questioned whether Chairman Rodriguez could include the raising of  
the Pride Flag on the June 12, 2024 Agenda without the Community Relations  
Committee for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion voting to move it forward. Councilor  
Brunelle stated the Committee should vote to move it forward to the Town Council.  
MOTION to include the raising of the Pride Flag on the June 12, 2024 Town Council  
Agenda for discussion purposes.  
Moved by Councilor Brunelle, seconded by Councilor St. Vil  
Discussion: (see above).  
3 - 0 Approved and so declared  
Councilor St. Vil stated although he may have disagreed with Councilor Paul’s  
opinions and perspectives this evening that he does respect this process, he respected  
how great our Country is and their ability to come into an open forum and agree to  
disagree. He stated he recognizes that change was hard. However, he stated that this  
Committee and this Town Council has to try to push change, for what they  
collectively viewed was for the better. He stated he appreciated the conversation with  
Councilor Paul and Councilor Brunelle.  
Councilor Brunelle moved the meeting be adjourned, seconded by Councilor Paul.  
VOTE: 3 - 0 Approved and so declared. The meeting was adjourned at 7:29  
Respectfully submitted,  
April Brunelle  
C o m m i t t e e  
Community Relations Committee  
C h a i r m a n  
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