Park City Council members' T-shirt messages spark conflict in meeting
At Thursday’s Park City Council meeting, council members Max Doilney and Becca Gerber wore custom T-shirts with a reference to a Park Record op-ed that had called for their resignation. Doilney said later he intended the shirts as a joke, but one Parkite expressed offense during the meeting.
“Tone deaf relic” was printed across the fronts of the royal blue T-shirts. That term was used in an opinion piece by Andrew Morphett published in the August 3 Park Record. The piece criticized council members Doilney and Becca Gerber, and called for them to resign over what he termed “unprofessional behavior.”
During the public comment portion of Thursday’s council meeting, resident Angela Moschetta said Doilney and Gerber were mocking a constituent by quoting him on their clothing, and that they “owed the public more and should apologize.”
Moschetta went on to reference another Park Record op-ed authored by Doilney and Gerber last year, in which they said Mayor Nann Worel, then a city council member, had misled the public about the Black Lives Matter mural process in 2020. Moschetta said that op-ed contained lies, prompting Worel to caution her to be brief and courteous. Worel also interjected a second time to tell Moschetta she had made her point.
After the exchange, Gerber asked to be excused from the meeting, and did not return.
Friday morning, Worel called the exchange unfortunate. Doilney told KPCW he was sorry if his sense of humor had been misunderstood. In a text to KPCW Thursday night, Gerber said that public meetings should be safe spaces for everyone and it was difficult to withstand a personal attack.
Council member Ryan Dickey called the exchange tough and said it’s everyone’s job to maintain decorum in meetings. He also said council members had used their month off from regular meetings in August in part to work on relationships with each other.
“There has been a little bit of a divide in the council from the members that have been on for a while and the newer members; that hasn't been a secret, but you know, we had a great month,” he said. “Sometimes it takes a person sort of jumping over the moat to the other side and showing some leadership and really in the last month that's been councilmember Doilney. Max has really reached out to the whole rest of the council, showing some leadership and a lot of humility and saying let's work together. Everybody's working really hard to move forward and get a lot done. You know, I think that the T-shirts, I think we could probably debate whether that was a great idea. I think poking up a little bit of fun at himself and probably could be construed the wrong way.”
Moschetta said Friday that while Mayor Worel and councilmembers Dickey, Tana Toly and Jeremy Rubell respected differing stakeholder viewpoints, Doilney and Gerber’s T-shirts were mocking, passive-aggressive, and designed to get a reaction.