Benoit said: "I'm looking for someone who's going to help us and help the county executive … create a tomorrow kind of place. And Peter Smith, I think, best embodies the future in this county. I want to look forward, I don't want to look backward."
Foreshadowing what was to come, Benoit said, "And I'll vote for him over and over and over and over and over again."
Grasso, who said he chose Wagner because of his experience in government, then set his sights on Trumbauer. "I still haven't heard Mr. Trumbauer's reason for supporting Mr. Smith. … I think people deserve an answer."
Trumbauer answered: "I'm not going to sit up here and let you bully people anymore," said Trumbauer, which was met by loud applause. "I listened to 10 excellent candidates. … His background and experience and his situation is exactly what I was looking for."
Grasso replied: Thank you, Mr. Trumbauer. Was that so hard? I'm not trying to bully anybody. [You] want to act like a bunch of kids and keep going in circles. … I have a very strong personality, and I speak up and say what I need to say. … I'm not going to beat you up."
Trumbauer countered: "When this is all over, I'll give you a handshake. … Raising your voice is not helping us understand your position any better. … I'd rather have a discussion at this level rather than being yelled at. I don't think it's appropriate for you to yell over the dais at me or anybody else."
After many more ballots — and expressions of frustration from many of the members — the council voted 5-1, with Grasso voting no, to reconvene next week.
Asked after the meeting whether they'd be willing to change their votes, the council members were still divided.
Fink said, "Not an option."
Ladd said, "I'll sleep on it."
Grasso said, "Hell no."
Members reached Friday said they remain firm in their positions. Trumbauer and Walker said they would stick with Smith. Fink says he plans to continue supporting Wagner.
Benoit said that perhaps the four-day hiatus, which includes Monday's Presidents Day holiday, will help.
"I think everybody is entitled to a little time to think about this. I am sure all the interest groups are going to be applying whatever pressure they deem necessary to apply before we have a vote on Tuesday," said Benoit. "My hope is that political maturity will prevail. ... It is an embarrassment. It was gross."