Following the arrest of a City man during the New Bedford City Council meeting Thursday night, Council President Linda Morad is digging in her heels on her decision to halt the meeting to have the man removed.

Evangelo 'Gilly' Safioleas was asked by police to leave peacefully after Morad said Safioleas applauded three times in violation of a Council Chamber rule she enacted in January. Safioleas was arrested after refusing to leave.

Morad says Safioleas' defiant behavior is part of a pattern. "He harrasses people. He disrespects people. Frankly, he's a bully," exclaimed Morad. "And it's about time people stop cowtowing to this kind of behavior. I won't let this happen while I am sitting in the chair in the Council Chamber."

Morad calls the clapping a disruption, and says it's in direct violation of a rule she established at the beginning of her term as City Council President. "If Mr. Safioleas wants to applaud the individual councillors for the position they're taking on things, he should do what all the other residents in the city do. He should see them after the meeting, he should call them at their home, he should see them on the street and thank them for their position in representing him."

Safioleas was escorted from a council meeting in February for similar behavior. He has been charged for Thursday night's incident under a no trespass order. Safioleas alleged Thursday night that Morad has a personal vendetta against him. Morad says that's not the case.

Morad says city councillors have a job to do, and they would like to do that job without distruption.

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