Outgoing county commissioner Dianne Novak let loose a bitter tirade at the end of Monday’s meeting.
Novak held up a copy of the Marion County Record and glared at a reporter.
“This is the most disgusting newspaper article I have read on the opinion page,” she said.
“I hate to say it, but this is nothing but left-wing, Democratic, socialist propaganda, and you don’t deserve to be the legal paper for Marion County,” she said, slamming the newspaper to the table and pointing her finger at a Record reporter as the volume of her voice rose.
When commission chairman Jonah Gehring attempted to cut Novak off, she pointed her finger at him and spoke even louder.
“Nobody’s going to stop me. Nobody’s going to stop me. Who is going to stop me?” Novak demanded.
“You’re attacking a business,” Gehring said. “You can’t be attacking a local business no matter how much you agree or disagree with them.”
“I can say whatever I want to say,” Novak said. “This is my opinion, OK? I am mentioned in that article, and I can say whatever I want to say! This is my opinion.”
She was referring to an editorial by editor and publisher Eric Meyer that implied she and other opponents of a COVID-19 face mask mandate were either cowardly or brainwashed.
“You’re speaking as a commissioner,” Gehring said.
Novak turned to glare at the reporter again.
“I’m speaking as myself,” she retorted.
“No, you have to do that outside the room,” Gehring said.
Novak reacted with more finger-pointing at Gehring.
“OK, so we’re going to discuss how you think you can shut a commissioner up,” Novak said. “You have no authority to do that. I have every right to express my opinion. I can express my opinion as you have expressed yours.”
“There is a time and place,” Gehring.
Still not ready to concede, Novak again shot a baleful look at the reporter.
“Well OK, that was my opinion,” she said. “And I stand by it. And obviously the other four little boys don’t.”
She sat back in her chair and again glared at Gehring.
“And if it didn’t bother you, that’s just fine. I see where you are at, Jonah,” Novak said. “And obviously you other four little boys don’t, well, I’m sorry, two of them didn’t say a freaking thing. But obviously little boy Jonah doesn’t agree!”
The meeting was abruptly adjourned, and Novak angrily left the room.
Commissioner Randy Dallke then put his hands to his mouth and made duck quack sounds.