Caught on camera: Morris town leader storms out of her own meeting

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MORRIS-- A first selectman is the subject of a video spreading on Facebook. In the video, Barbara Bongiolatti is seen standing up and calling a recess during a Morris Board of Selectman meeting just minutes after it started. She then storms out.

It all happened Tuesday in the Litchfield County town of just under 2,400 residents.

Bongiolatti exits after a brief back-and-forth with Selectman Phil Birkett.

Barbara Bongiolatti: "I will adjourn this meeting Phil. Meeting is recessed."
Phil Birkett: "Until when?"
Barbara Bongioatti: "Until I come back."
Phil Birkett: "Tonight?"
Barbara Bongiolatti: "When Phil decides he's not going to discuss something that's not on the agenda."

Bongiolatti, a 77-year-old Democrat, is the first selectman on the three-person board, joined by another Democrat and by Phil Birkett, a Republican.

Birkett is the male voice heard in the video, and he told Fox CT he was trying to talk about veteran's benefits and property assessments at Tuesday's meeting.

But Bongiolatti argues Birkett shouldn't have brought it up because he never made the required motion to do so.

"I said this is not on the agenda. You are out of order and I'm asking you to stop reading what you're reading," said Bongiolatti.

More than 48 hours later, by Thursday night, Bongiolatti said that meeting is technically "still in recess" until she decides it is reconvened.

But the big-picture problem, according to many, is political gridlock in the town that's led to a nasty war of words online and in person--like the scene at Tuesday night's meeting.

"This is the first time that I've seen this happen. It was quite concerning but typical of what's being going on in town over the past year and a half," said MaryAnn Orzell, Morris' secretary of Planning and Zoning.

Phil Birkett is a 12-term selectman and served as first selectman seven times.

"I'm just disappointed -- why would she end the meeting? Why wouldn't we have a discussion?" said Birkett.

But he said the walkout amounts to just a symptom of Morris' political problems as of late.

Bongiolatti meanwhile, believes it's getting out of hand.

"It's no doubt about it, it's a very political vendetta that is going on here and it's so bad, it's so bad, I can't even begin to tell you," she said.