WAKEFIELD — A request from the Wakefield Human Rights Commission to fly the “progress” Pride Flag and the Juneteenth flag at the Americal Civic Center in June led to another lengthy discussion of the town’s flag policy at this week’s Town Council meeting as well as a testy exchange between chair Mehreen Butt and Councilor Robert Vincent.

The WHRC was requesting that the “progress” Pride flag be flown at the Americal Civic Center from Thursday, June 1 until Thursday June 15, and then again from Wednesday, June 21 until Thursday, June 30 at the conclusion of Pride Month. They are also requesting that the Juneteenth flag be raised on Thursday, June 15 and be taken down on Wednesday, June 21. This will be in conjunction with an HRC Juneteenth event with the North Shore Juneteenth Association, which is planned for Thursday, June 15 at the Americal Civic Center.

Town Councilor Edward Dombroski questioned how the Pride and Juneteenth flags could be flown since the town’s Flag Policy allows only the American flag and the POW flag to be flown from town-owned flagpoles. Only if there are multiple flag poles at a given location can other flags also be flown. The Civic Center currently has only one flagpole.

But Town Council chair Mehreen Butt noted that by June, there will be a second flagpole installed at the Civic Center.

Dombroski said that he did not have a problem with either the Pride or Juneteenth flags being flown, but expressed concern that the Town Council still did not have a criteria or process for deciding which flags will be allowed.

He said that the Pride and the Juneteenth flags were the “easy” decisions. He argued that the Town Council was leaving itself open to a lot of other, much tougher calls. What happens, he wondered, when a request comes from a pro- or anti-abortion group or a request to fly a Christian flag? Or if a past Wakefield High School graduating class requested to fly the Wakefield Warrior flag in conjunction with their class reunion?

Dombroski said that the town should consider a policy like the one adopted by the town of Reading whereby only the American flag and the POW flag are flown from town poles. He suggested that the town would be “better off staying out of the flag business in general.”

Town Councilor Jonathan Chines defended the current flag policy, adding, “We haven’t had other requests.”

But Councilor Robert Vincent said the reason that there have been no other requests was likely because, until now, there wasn’t a second flagpole available. Now that there would be two poles at the Civic Center, he suggested that more requests were likely to come in.

Vincent said that he was leaning toward Dombroski’s position of flying only the American and POW flags. But he also suggested that a policy and procedure should be set forth in a bylaw, not just a policy. A bylaw, he argued, would be reviewed for constitutionality by the Attorney General’s office.

Town Councilor Michael McLane agreed that more flag requests were likely to come in once there were multiple poles available. He also expressed surprise that a decision was made to put up the second pole at the Americal Civic Center without the Town Council’s involvement.

Councilor Julie Smith-Galvin said that it had been her impression all along that a second pole would be installed at the Civic center. She said that she thought the current policy was “fair.”

Town Counsel Thomas Mullen said that he saw no real advantage in having a bylaw rather than a policy. He noted that a recent Supreme Court decision said that a community could avoid problems by announcing that any flags flown are an expression of official town sentiment and not an expression of free speech.

Mullen warned that to start establishing more specific criteria was an invitation to trouble. He said that the whole point is that choosing which flags to display is a subjective and discretionary decision by the town. He said that he could live with a policy that allows only the American and POW flags, or a policy that leaves it entirely at the discretion of the Town Council, as the current policy states.

Dombroski pointed out that last year, the Board of Library Trustees, decided that only the U.S. flag, the POW-MIA flag or the Massachusetts state flag would be flown outside Beebe Library.

“I think they made the right call,” Dombroski said.

At one point, Councilor Vincent asked for clarification on how a flag request would get placed on the Town Council’s agenda.

Mullen explained that the chair sets the agenda, but any member of the board could also ask the chair to place a flag request on the agenda or simply bring it up at a meeting himself.

Vincent said that would be fine, but he would want to have that process memorialized in writing in the flag policy.

At that point, Chair Mehreen Butt interjected.

“That’s how every item works, Bob,” she said. “That’s how us as a Council operates.” She said that she creates the agenda along with Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio. If any councilor wants something added to the agenda, they can request it.

“That’s just how we as a Council operate,” she said.

Vincent took exception to the tone of Butt’s comments.

“Am I being reprimanded for asking a clarifying question?” he asked.

He said that he was just trying to understand the process. “I don’t appreciate being chastised because I want to ask clarifying questions.”

Butt said that was not her intent.

Dombroski reminded the board of the Library Trustees decision to not allow any flags except the American, state and POW flags.

“All this goes away if we just say, ‘no flags,’” he said.

At that point, Chines moved the question on the WHRC flag request.

Butt called for the votes in favor. Chines, Smith-Galvin, McLane, Butt and Anne Danehy raised their hands.

The chair did not call for those opposed but declared that the HRC flag request had passed by a 5-2 vote.