NEW BRITAIN -- Timothy Stewart, former mayor and father of the Hardware City’s current mayor, Erin Stewart, has resigned as president of the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce.
In a press release, the chamber’s chairman, Gennaro Bizzarro, said he accepted Stewart’s resignation this morning.
Stewart was placed on administrative leave from two city commissions after he posted a comment on a photo of 50 congresswomen at the State of the Union who wore white as a nod to women’s suffrage. His comment read “B—–s in heat!”
City Council members said they are relieved about Stewart’s decision to resign.
“I was really encouraged and excited he chose the option of resigning,” City Council President Eva Magnuszewski said.
“I don’t wish him bad but he did the right thing in resigning,” City Council Member Iris Sanchez said. “He needs to respect women.”
Council President Magnuszewski said she fears the potential consequences New Britain may suffer due to Stewart’s comments.
“If I was a female who’s looking to open up a storefront business, am I going to chose New Britain knowing that I might have to deal with him, or am I going to go to another city?” Magnuszewski said.
Stewart’s daughter, Erin Stewart, is the current mayor. When the post came to light, she asked her father to “step down from both the New Britain School Building Committee and the Mattabassett District Commission. The Mayor has accepted his resignations, effectively immediately.” Members of the city’s Common Council issued a petition demanding the city stop any funding the Chamber of Commerce until Stewart resigned or was fired. But Mayor Erin Stewart said the city doesn’t fund the chamber.
Gennaro, in addition to being the chairman of the Chamber, also works under Erin Stewart as the city’s Corporation Counsel, and is running in a special election to fill the vacant seat of State Sen. Terry Gerratana. In his release, Gennaro said:
For the past three days, we at the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce have been rocked by the aftermath of Tim’s social media post. Within hours of learning of the post on Wednesday morning, I placed Tim on immediate administrative leave and expressed my profound disappointment in his inexcusable language. I issued an unequivocal condemnation of his post and made clear that Tim’s words did not reflect the feelings held by the members of the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce, our staff or myself.
Gennaro said he had been reaching out to the 20 members of the Chamber’s board, and scheduled a special meeting regarding Timothy Stewart’s future with the Chamber. “I appreciated that Tim has stepped forward so as not to put the Chamber or our members through additional distress.” `
FOX61 has tried to reach Tim Stewart on multiple occasions, but have not heard back. He did post a statement on Facebook that read in part:
“I along with many other people should know better to not say things that might enflame the public. My comment was wrong and in poor taste in response to a particular time during the speech that I …took offense to. This in no way excuses my behavior and I am deeply sorry to not only the women in my life but to all women for the remark. I am also ashamed that I once again have put the Chamber in a difficult position . . . .”
This was not Stewart’s first time creating an uproar with his comments on social media. In November 2017, he referred to residents of the North and Oak neighborhood as ‘inmates’, which led to calls for his resignation at that time as well.
Mayor Erin Stewart has commented on her father’s resignation saying – on Twitter – “I am proud of my dad for doing the right thing.”