EVERETT — The Common Council voted unanimously last Tuesday to reprimand Councilor Wayne Matewsky of Ward 1 for misconduct related to a dispute last month at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant.
The council's Ethics Committee determined after a hearing in April that Matewsky misued his official position and should apologize to staff at the restaurant, located at the Gateway Shopping Center on Route 16.
On Tuesday, the full council approved the reprimand with little discussion.
“What we're voting on tonight, is to have this matter closed,” said Ward 5 Councilor Lorrie Bruno, a member of the Ethics Committee.
Matewsky, who is also the city's new state representative, joined his colleagues in the 15-to-0 vote. He blamed the incident on politics.
“This was an effort to derail my candidacy for state representative,” Matewsky, 54, told his fellow councilors. “It was unsuccessful. I'm happy the voters of Everett are a little smarter than some people think.”
On March 6, the night after he won the Democratic nomination for state representative in a special election primary, Matewsky visited Texas Roadhouse with two friends.
But a manager at the restaurant told Matewsky to leave after he complained about being seated near a special needs child celebrating her seventh birthday.
“At some point, he said, 'I would like to be moved away from this [expletive] child.' He raised a ruckus,” Travis Doster, a spokesman for the Kentucky-based chain, told the Globe in an interview published April 14. He added that Matewsky did not pay his $60 bill and threatened to have the city's Health Department shut down the restaurant.
Matewsky has strongly disputed the restaurant's version of the incident.
“This was a table request, gone awry, nothing more," Matewsky said Tuesday, his voice rising angrily. "I've never bothered anybody, let alone a handicapped child.”
The incident became public after a patron at the restaurant spoke about it to the Common Council March 11. Matewsky said he returned to the Texas Roadhouse about a week later to apologize to staff.
The incident has been hard on him and his elderly parents, Matewsky said. “My mother cried two weeks ago. Enough is enough."
A member of the Common Council for 32 years, Matewsky is the city's longest-serving elected official. On April 2, he won a special election to replace Stephen "Stat" Smith, who on April 9 was sentenced to four months in federal prison and fined $20,000 for admitting to absentee ballot fraud.
Matewsky, who was Smith's legislative aide for the past year, said he expects to be sworn into office soon and to leave the Everett council.
"The people of this city elected me as their state representative," he said. " I'm going to do the best job I can possibly do. . . . I'm moving on."Kathy McCabe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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