The issue: Gardner City Council meetings have been dysfunctional in the past.

Our View: Council member Dennis Pugh’s resignation should serve as a
reminder that healthy discourse requires dissension, and also civility.

It’s unfortunate that a majority of the Gardner City Council will once again be appointed rather than elected officials.
But we applaud former council member Dennis Pugh for tendering his resignation. It was the right thing to do for the city of Gardner.
Now it’s up to the remaining council members and the Mayor to do the right thing.
The council got a good start at the Dec. 5 meeting. Everyone was respectful, though subdued. That was absolutely the right tone following a meeting that ended with one council member charged with battery.
The next step is for the Mayor to make a council appointment that will be a uniter and not a divider. That means a person who has steered far clear of the recall election and Take Back Gardner.
In the meantime, it’s important that the community and the council not forget that we’re not looking for a council that rubber stamps any proposals.
There is a reason the Gardner council has been filled with elected individuals of such divergent views – the community is divided in many ways as to the best way Gardner should be governed.
That’s not a bad thing. It’s obviously the will of the voters.
Healthy debate still requires debate. It still requires dissension.
We look forward to having a council that can have civil debate. Last night’s meeting was a good start.