Bob Carleton, a councilman serving Norwalk for almost 20 years, is seemingly safe from any punishment after sending an email containing offensive and disparaging remarks about blacks, women and Hispanics.
“As far as council taking formal action to remove or discipline him, there is nothing that allows council to do that,” council president Steve Euton said. “There’s nothing we can do”
Voters could recall Carleton, but that’s an unlikely scenario, Euton said.
“Most people believe that it’s inappropriate behavior, but people have not contacted me to remove him from office” Euton said.
In December, Carleton, who obtained the email from someone else, forwarded the racially charged email to city officials and others. The Register obtained the email through a public records request.
After verifying Carleton’s email through Norwalk’s law department, the Register called Carleton, who previously said he regretted forwarding the message after receiving it from someone else.
“I see it as humorous,” Carleton told the Register in early January. “I guess in hindsight, it can be interpreted as racist, but that was not my intent.
“It doesn’t mean I’m racist,” Carleton said. “Sometimes people can’t understand a joke. I got friends that are black. I have friends of all races”
In interviews with the Register, city officials and community members expressed disappointment and outrage about Carleton’s email.
“This is an individual using the premise of a joke to actually pass on what he truly believes,” said Jim Jackson, president of the NAACP’s chapter in Sandusky. “That’s sad, and even more so that he’s a public official. A lot of times, when individuals pass something like this off as a joke, they actually believe the contents of the joke”