Troy Mayor posts sign considered anti-mask, causes stir in community

TROY — A sign about masks posted at a public building in Troy has caused a stir in the community.

At Monday’s city council meeting Doug Page said as he was out for a walk he saw a sign in the window of the door to the planning, development, and engineering departments.

“Expressed some wonderful sentiments,” Page said. “But one said the building was open to everyone regardless of their ability to wear a mask. Well of course it is. However isn’t this a mixed message that we’re sending? I just wonder why we have this sign up.”

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At the council meeting Mayor Robin Oda said she put the signs up temporarily to see if anyone would notice.

The signs read “You are welcome here regardless of the following: Ability or inability to wear a facial covering, religious beliefs, political affiliation, socioeconomic status. Required to enter: kindness and consideration for others while inside…despite the above.” At the bottom it said “Please remember you have never walked a day in someone else’s shoes.”

Friday Mayor Oda said five signs were printed and one was missed in being taken down.

Friday Mayor Oda said she did it as a way to try and spark a conversation to have a fresh start in Troy for the new year.

“The mask mandate has been pushed in everybody’s face, masks required, mask required,” Oda said. “I was looking at this sign, is this something we can do at City Hall to soften that message a little bit.”

She said it was meant to catch the attention of the human resources director, Thomas Funderburg, and services and safety director Patrick Titterington. She added that they did get noticed in the first few hours and then took them down.

Monday afternoon, prior to the council meeting, Oda said they had created a new sign with the city of Troy logo that featured a ‘softer’ message than other signs posted around City Hall.

During Monday’s meeting city council president William Lutz shared his frustration over the sign being posted at all.

“I can not describe how livid I am,” Lutz said. “Public buildings are not meant to be canvases for political thought from elected officials.”

Lutz went on to explain saying when school levies are on the ballot signs aren’t posted in the school yard nor are signs posted in parks when park levies are on the ballot.

Several businesses in Troy have the same sign in their windows that Mayor Oda posted. She said she received the sign several months ago and did not design it.

Friday Oda noted that she’s received plenty of positive feedback from the community but has also seen plenty of backlash similar to Monday’s meeting.

“People are very fearful, I get that,” Oda said. “We just can not continue to stall our economy. In no way want to ignore their fear or their concerns.”

“Is it hurtful? Yeah, it’s hurtful. Hopefully we can get past it and move on. I’m still doing my job and looking forward to kicking the year and how do we move forward from this point.”

Oda has shared some of her disagreement previously with some restrictions placed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.