The meeting was moderated by Francis Dougherty, the city’s managing director.
Although the eight city administrators seated at the front of the room were introduced by Dougherty, several people in the audience seemed to think they were addressing City Council. More than one assumed they had been elected to their positions. One man even said taxpayers had voted them in.
Some residents just shouted out comments from their seats, rather than following Dougherty’s suggestion that they go to the podium to speak.
For several minutes, the meeting disintegrated into residents arguing with each other.
The men at the front of the room were silent for much of the meeting, rather than engaging residents in debate.
But Klein accused most of them of having “disgraceful” looks on their faces when people spoke. He said only Fire Chief Scheirer seemed to recognize there is a problem.
Responding, Scheirer asked the audience to “please, stop making us the enemy. We’re not. We’re here to listen to you and we’re here to try to address the problem.”
Ironically, heavy rain was falling over Allentown just before the meeting began. One woman asked: “Are we going to go home and find out homes flooded again?”
Another said she was moving because she no longer can stand living in fear every time it rains.