Easthampton City Councilor Donald Cykowski refuses to resign over Puerto Rican remark

Published Thursday, December 22, 2011
By Diane Lederman, The Republican

Easthampton City Councilor Donald L. Cykowski, left, is seen in this composite photo with Springfield NAACP president, the Rev. Talbert W. Swan II.

EASTHAMPTON – City Councilor Donald L. Cykowski said he has no intentions of resigning over a comment that he made two weeks ago about Puerto Ricans, for which he apologized on Wednesday night.

“I thought my apology was enough,” he said Thursday. When questioned about the sincerity of the apology because of how it was phrased, he said, “I’m not quite a wordsmith that some people would want. I tried to be as brief as (possible).”

At Wednesday night’s council meeting, he said, “I made a statement (at the Dec. 7 meeting). If I offended anyone I apologize.”

Cykowski asked “Where’s a Puerto Rican when we need one?” after colleague and fellow councilor-at-large Ronald D. Chateauneuf left the meeting room on Dec. 7 and was unable to reenter when the door locked behind him.

“l quipped something out without thinking. I’m sorry I did it,” he said Thursday.

He said he was not intending to play on any stereotypes, and said he has nothing against Puerto Ricans.

“I worked with Puerto Ricans, Columbians, Cambodians, you name it, black guys, we always got along. I just made a quip. It seems like a slow news day,” Cykowski said.

“I’m Polish, I’ve been a butt of Polish jokes. I’ve been called a dumb ‘Polack’ ” and he just rolled with it, Cykowski said. “I’m sorry I did this.”

Cykowki’s comments caused the Rev. Talbert W. Swan II, president of the Springfield branch of the NAACP, to call on Easthampton officials to censure Cykowski.

Cykowski has been a councilor since 2004.

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