DERRY — Contention continues between a newly-elected Derry state representative and a sitting town councilor, with many allegations flying about whether the town charter was violated and ethics rules were broken.
Anne Copp, who won her bid Nov. 3 to become one of 10 of Derry's state representatives in District 6, returned before the Town Council Nov. 10, saying she hoped to rectify her concerns about Town Councilor Jim Morgan, and continued to urge councilors to ask him to resign.
Copp had come before Council on Oct. 20, accusing Morgan of bullying remarks and cruel statements that denounced her and her state representative campaign for her views on gay marriage and other issues.
She urged councilors to study their own ethics rules and the town charter.
During the September primary, Copp said she and seven other Derry candidates joined forces to run as the “Slate of Eight.” Copp said the group bought ad space on a local digital billboard that suddenly went dark days before the September primary election, saying that also may have been due to possible meddling from those opposing her views.
Copp also accused Morgan of degrading her character during his local cable television program, "People in Politics," where Copp said Morgan openly spoke out about her, using what she called bullying tactics to "berate the Slate of Eight" list of candidates and what they stood for, including Copp's support of primary gubernatorial candidate Karen Testerman, a Republican conservative with anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage views.
Morgan defended his actions.
"I will not be punched down because I'm a gay, married man," Morgan said. "I will not be attacked because I stand on my principles. I will also never act on behalf of this council in a demeaning or degrading way or unprofessional way. My text messages weren't threatening. They were direct."
In a statement read publicly during the recent meeting, Council Chairman Charlie Foote cited several allegations by Copp against Morgan that she felt were town charter violations and also went against Town Council rules.
"Ms. Copp makes several allegations, including: Councilor Morgan made comments concerning the election of state representatives on his public access program," Foote read in his statement. "The town does not restrict any person’s freedom of speech rights on the town’s public access program, as that would violate FCC regulations. This is not a violation of the town charter."
Copp also accused Morgan of collaborating with the owner of the electric sign at 23 Crystal Ave. to have the political advertisement removed.
"The Council has not investigated this charge, as the alleged action would not have fallen within the purview of the Council," Foote said.
Copp also claimed Morgan directed town staff to remove her political signs.
"This charge is unfounded," Foote read in his statement. "Many councilors have received complaints regarding political candidates violating town ordinances by placing political signs on town property. All councilors have followed the same procedure by reporting these complaints to the town administrator, who is then responsible for tasking the appropriate staff members to investigate the complaint and take appropriate action."
Copp also accused Morgan of threatening communication.
"This issue is again outside of the purview of this Council and Ms. Copp should pursue other legal remedies to address this matter," Foote said.
In her recent appearance before Council, Copp said she hoped councilors had looked at the materials she provided about Morgan and what she called his less than respectful behavior towards her.
"I told you I'd be back in two weeks to follow up," Copp said.
Copp said she is being treated as if she's "kryptonite" against Superman, and said she did not make derogatory comments about Morgan's lifestyle.
"I never made this about Jim Morgan's lifestyle," Copp said, adding the story has "gotten wings" since her last appearance and accused Morgan and others of berating her on social media for her conservative and religious views.
Resident Tom Carson spoke out during the public forum, saying the entire episode is shining a bad light on Derry. And if there were any alleged homophobic tones to any exchange from Copp or anyone, it's a "line you do not cross."
"This is not what we want here in Derry," Cardon said.
Morgan said the political arena can be difficult, and encouraged all Derry state representatives now heading to Concord to do their job.
"Stop the rhetoric," Morgan said. "Take it outside this room that belongs to the taxpayers of Derry. Let's all just do good for the community."