WAKEFIELD — After a proposed new town Flag Policy generated a lengthy and convoluted discussion featuring motions, counter motions and amendments to amendments, the current flag policy remains in place as this week’s Town Council vote on the new version ended in a 3-3 stalemate.

At a Town Council meeting in October, Town Councilor Michael McLane had offered a proposal for a new flag policy that would have addressed some of the board’s concerns related to handling citizens’ flag requests and would also accommodate the Veterans Advisory Board’s request to fly only the American flag and the POW-MIA flag on Flag Day, June 14.

McLane’s proposal was put on hold to allow feedback to be gathered from both the Veterans Advisory Board (VAB) and the Wakefield Human Rights Commission (WHRC). The WHRC is involved because honoring the VAB Flag Day request would mean taking down the Pride flag for one day. The Pride flag flies on the second flag pole at the Americal Civic Center in June.

In the meantime, Chairman Jonathan Chines crafted yet another draft flag policy, which was the one that the Town Council discussed this week. Chines noted that sections 1-4 of his new draft were the same as the current policy.

Chines’ proposed policy would not grant the veterans’ request to display only the American and POW-MIA flags on Flag Day. Instead, it commits the town to holding an event to commemorate Flag Day. It also codifies the flying of the Pride and Juneteenth flags during the month of June from the second pole at the Americal Civic Center. 

Chines’ proposed policy also states, “The Town Council shall not entertain any requests to fly other or additional flags.”

Councilor Edward Dombroski said that the VAB has been quite clear in its request that only the American and POW-MIA flags should be flown on Flag Day. But last June, a majority of the Town Council voted down the veterans’ request.

Dombroski also questioned why Chines’ proposed policy would call for a Flag Day event, when the veterans have for decades held a Flag Day event on Veterans Memorial Common in conjunction with the Boy Scouts. Dombroski suggested that Chines’ call for a Flag Day event duplicating a pre-existing event was no substitute for granting the veterans’ reasonable request to fly only the American and POW-MIA flags on Flag Day.

“They already have that event,” Dombroski said. “They’re not looking for that. I still have a hard time understanding why we can’t fly the American flag exclusively on Flag Day. No one has articulated that. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to honor a simple veterans’ request.”

Dombroski said that he did not view telling the veterans that they can have an event that they already have as any kind of compromise. 

“I still have yet to hear why we can’t have this (veterans’) request honored for one day out of 30,” he said.

Councilor Ann Danehy said that she felt that the existing policy lacked transparency. She also said that she didn’t want to “give voice to hate groups” so she favored changing the current policy, which allows for citizens requests to fly flags. She also suggested that granting the VAB’s request would also mean taking down General Galvin’s four-star flag at the Galvin Middle School on Flag Day.

Councilor Robert Vincent said that the American flag is for all Americans. He pointed out that federal buildings that fly the Pride flag during June do not take it down for Flag Day.

“I don’t see majority support for taking down the Pride flag on Flag Day,” he said.

McLane said that in his view every member of the Town Council favored being welcoming and inclusive to all. 

“I think that flying only the American flag on Flag Day would not be a slight to anyone,” he said, adding that he would vote against Chines’ proposed Flag Policy.

Dombroski then made a motion to amend Chines’ policy by adding that on June 14 only the American and POW-MIA flags shall be flown in recognition of Flag Day. 

McLane seconded Dombroski’s motion.

Councilor Julie Smith-Galvin said that she opposed Dombroski’s amendment.

Chines said that taking down the Pride flag on Flag Day would send the unintentional message that the Pride flag and the American flag are in conflict.

Danehy said that she could support flying only the American flag on Flag Day, but would then want the Pride flag flown year round except for June. She proposed an amendment to that effect.

Eventually, Councilor Vincent made a motion to table the Flag Policy vote until the board’s Dec. 11 meeting. 

“There are too many amendments and it’s hard for me to follow,” he said.

Dombroski said that the issues were clear and he didn’t see any point in postponing the vote.

Councilor Smith-Galvin then announced that she had to leave the meeting for a family emergency and asked that the vote be postponed.

After a vote, Danehy’s amendment to fly only the American and POW-MIA flags on Flag Day and display the Pride Flag all year except in June failed.

When the board finally took a vote on Chines’ revised Flag Policy, the result was a 3-3 tie. Chines, Vincent and Mehreen Butt voted in favor. Dombroski, McLane and Danehy were opposed.

The stalemate means that, for the time being at least, the current Flag Policy remains in place.