A member of a Florida citizen board drew criticism this week after she was caught on camera giving a Nazi “Heil Hitler” salute during a meeting.
Wellington board member Marcia Radosevich used the gesture as a joke to show how much power the board was giving to the planning and development services director, Tim Stillings.
Board members and citizens found the comparison to Adolf Hitler over the top.
“It was extremely inappropriate,” attendee Laurie Cohen told the Palm Beach Post. “I understand that she felt strongly about the point that she was trying to make, but I think the words she chose and the gesture she made were really inappropriate.”
Radosevich was responding to a new proposal that allowed Stillings staff to review projects without any input from the Development Review Committee.
Radosevich held her hand up in salute with a big smile on her face.
“Heil Hitler,” she said.
In the video, Stillings can be heard responding, “Wow. Wow. That might be a bit over the top, I think.”
“If that offended you, I apologize,” she told him.
Cohen was surprised with how well Stillings reacted.
“Quite frankly,” Cohen said, “I’m not sure I would’ve handled it in the same manner, with such dignity.”
“It becomes uncomfortable when you’re dealing with an issue whether it’s a board member or the public and they make it personal,” Stillings later said. “There’s an attachment of you as a person to the discussion. That’s all that bothered me — that it became personal and not about the issue.”
Village Manager Paul Schofield said he received phonecalls about the incident from at least one concerned citizen.
Councilman Matt Willhite, who appointed Radosevich in 2012, says she called him to apologize for the incident.
“I think she was very upset with the runaround she felt she was getting and the answers she wasn’t getting,” Willhite said. “I’m guessing emotions got ahead of her, and she did something inappropriate – she knows that, I know that, we all know that.”
Radosevich’s two-year appointment to the board is up on May 31.