Bipartisan group Unite Norman storm city council demanding a vote for Boyd


Bipartisan group Unite Norman, stood in favor of electing Sean Boyd as an interim council member in place of David Perry. The group loudly protested the outcome of the vote against Boyd, calling council members tyrants and gutless. Photo by KaraLee Langford and Miranda Vondale. 

NORMAN — Citizens rallied Tuesday in the lobby of the Norman Municipal Court in support of City Council candidate member, Sean Boyd. But events quickly escalated during the meeting when Council members unexpectedly began opposing his candidacy.

Boyd’s appointment by the council was being considered because of the death of council member David Perry, the former Ward 2 member, who died of a heart attack two months after his election.

Ward 6 councilmember Elizabeth Foreman and Ward 1 member Kate Bierman set the tone when they indicated their opposition to Boyd, who would have served the remainder of Perry’s term.

“I don’t feel the committee put the best applicant forward,” said Foreman.

Bierman said she had “fundamental concerns on how the committee made their decision.”

Despite the large group of Boyd supporters, Mayor Breea Clark refused to allow comment from the public during the council’s discussion, which drew heated criticism from members of United Norman, a group that has led an effort to recall council members but failed in its effort to collect enough signatures for a recall election of Clark.

“Our mission was to bring our city closer to center and try to remove radical council members, radical council members from our leadership,” Russell Smith said, co-founder of Unite Norman. “We respect anyone who is democrat or republican… Unite Norman’s purpose is to rid the radicals so we can unite the city again.”

The group disrupted the meeting in a loud display of favoritism as Boyd received the chance to speak on his behalf, shouting “respect the process!” referring to the council appointed ward selection committee that considered applications before making the recommendation of Boyd in a 3-2 vote. Two members of that committee subsequently withdrew their support of Boyd before the council meeting.

Boyd apologized to Perry’s family and asked the council for the opportunity to serve the Norman community, thanking them for their service.

Regardless, Lee Hall, councilmember of Ward 4, said she was already disturbed at the lack of consensus by the council in support of Boyd.

“Clearly we need to do a better job of standardizing the process and communicating expectations and having written guidelines put up and all future committees are operating on the same set of expectations and guidelines,” Hall said.

After Boyd was not voted into council, Unite Norman members began yelling obscenities, calling the councilmembers cowards, gutless, and tyrants.

“This is a city council that doesn’t use any rules,” Smith said. “They created the rules, and then when it didn’t go their way, when the selection committee chose a moderate, they proved that they don’t want moderation, they want radicalists.” 


Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.