YARDLEY BOROUGH >> Yardley Borough Councilwoman Sandi Brady abruptly resigned from borough council on Wednesday the day after confronting candidate and now councilman-elect Patrick McGovern at the polls over an alias FaceBook profile.
In a letter of resignation read by Mayor Chris Harding at the Nov. 6 council meeting and effective Nov. 5, Brady, a Republican, said McGovern, a Democrat, “admitted” to creating an alias FaceBook profile and acknowledged the "racist nature" of its posts, but chalked it up to satire as he portrayed himself as a Republican.
“I appreciate his honesty and he did apologize. In his regret he looked at me and said, ‘I think you are a good Republican.’ Well, I am not a good Republican, I am a person. And my world is too big to put labels on it. I never viewed Pat as a good or bad Democrat. I only thought of him as Pat McGovern. And I had thought highly of him,” said Brady in her letter. “Now I will never unsee the incredibly offensive posts and multiple ones taking aim at Asians (I am Korean American), the LGBTQ community, at women, that he made in the name of humor,” she said.
“While he admitted this in front of (councilman) David Bria, (candidate) John McCann and others, the actions they chose to take was no action regarding Pat and instead attacked me,” said Brady. “David Bria even attempted to gaslight me suggesting that I Photoshopped numerous screen shots I had taken from the FaceBook page even after witnessing Pat’s admission of guilt.
“This position on Yardley Borough Council is simply too much to bear,” said Brady in her letter. “In my adult life I have not encountered any blatant racism until I joined council and it has been certain council members who continue to enable this behavior.
“It is clear to me that the toxic, bullying culture that I spoke out against last year is here to stay,” Brady continued. “I therefore resign my position on council immediately. To the community members who supported me, I am proud of the many public safety accomplishments that we have made in a short amount of time ... My core values and personal convictions prevent me from finishing my term with colleagues whose character I cannot stop questioning.”
Harding noted that the letter was submitted before the polls closed on Tuesday and the results of the election were known.
Bria, who was named numerous times in Brady’s letter, said the accusations against McGovern were presented to him by Brady on Tuesday morning during the election and said he was asked by Brady to “disavow one of our candidates” on the spot.
“What I explained to Mrs. Brady is that I believe in due process. But being given information right there on the spot without much proof and something I had never seen before, something I can’t do is say, ‘Well, we’re going to completely change directions now.’ It was Election Day. There was nothing we could do. The election had to move forward,” he said.
“Due process is so important that it’s in the U.S. Constitution twice,” Bria continued. “I thought that Pat McGovern deserved to tell his side of his story. And we are having conversations with him to establish what the nature of these FaceBook posts truly was.”
Bria said he had no knowledge of the FaceBook posts prior to Tuesday morning when he was told by Brady.
Responding to Bria’s comments, Harding said while he admires Bria for “being a leader in anti-discrimination and anti-bullying,” he said he wished Bria’s “leadership had taken control Tuesday morning because I think there are things that could have been done.”
Councilwoman Caroline Thompson said everyone on council “agrees that racism is not okay. We do not condone any statements made against any group or individual who live in our borough and who we vow to represent. There is no gray area here. It is not okay,” she said.
Councilman Ryan Berry said what he’s seen, whether it’s true or not, is “reprehensible.”
“We are looking into this,” said Bria. “We take it seriously. But again, seeing it for the first time yesterday, our options were limited.”
During public comment, resident Carol Petty said she hates to see Brady go.
“We all do,” added Bria.
“I wish she would have not resigned until we got to the bottom of this,” said Petty. “I think it’s a very sad day that what is going on in this world today has come to Yardley Borough. I’d love to see the investigation go forward. And if this is true, I don’t think he (McGovern) deserves to sit on council.”
Under Pennsylvania law, the borough has 30 days to fill the vacancy. Residents interested in filling out Brady's term, which runs through 2021, are encouraged to submit a cover letter and resume to the attention of Yardley Borough Manager Paula Johnson, 56 South Main Street, Yardley 19067.