Green Bay alders again pushing for a flag ban policy after first vote in June failed

Some council members want to prohibit the mayor from flying any flag other than the national, state and city flags
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 9:50 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Green Bay’s staff is reviewing a flag ban policy that some alders are again pushing for the city to enact.

This comes after a vote to create such a flag policy failed in June when the mayor gave the deciding vote against it.

The discussion and vote was in response to Mayor Eric Genrich flying the pride flag representing the LGBTQ+ community at City Hall in June during Pride Month. It was the first time in the city’s history that the Pride flag was raised at City Hall.

Yet, some alders want to remove the authority from Mayor Genrich, and future mayors, from flying any flags other than the American, state, or city flags.

“I think we should not be subject to the political or social whims from one person and one person only who happens to be our mayor,” Chris Wery, alderman of District 8, said. “That’s really very wrong, it could go a number of different directions.”

Wery brought the issue up of a flag policy at Monday’s policy and protection committee as he had during the committee’s meeting in June. Other alders also commented supporting his view on a rule.

“We need some consistency and we need something in place to protect the city going forward from any group that doesn’t feel like they were granted the same possibility,” Alderman Jesse Burnette of District 12 said.

But the discussion drew pushback from Alderman Randy Scannell of District 7.

“There are people who are upset that we flew a pride flag? Yeah, I recognize that and I will not support that kind of prejudice,” Scannell said.

The city council voted down such a proposal on June 28 when Mayor Genrich gave the tie-breaking vote against it.

Last week, the Kettle Moraine School District voted in favor of banning flags considered political like the Gay Pride flag and back the blue flag from being displayed at schools.

Like the president of the United States and the governor of Wisconsin, the mayor has the authority to decide what flag is raised on city buildings, according to his office.

Several activists were appalled by such a ban again being considered.

“I think they’re making it a bigger issue than need be, Because it is a flag, it’s not physically hurting someone. I think it should not be an issue at all,” Tara Yang, chairwoman of the city’s equal rights commission, said.

“What the flag stands for really is a celebration, a celebration of all that folks in the gay, lesbian, and trans communities have had to overcome,” Jon Shelton, vice chair of the equal rights commission, said.

City staff is currently reviewing putting together a policy for alders and they expect it won’t go before the common council for vote until later this year.