Councilmember apologizes after being seen drinking wine during Tuesday meeting

Councilmember Adrienne-Fraley-Monillas.

Edmonds City Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas apologized to her fellow councilmembers and the mayor Wednesday after a video clip was circulated of her drinking wine during Tuesday night’s remote city council meeting.

The clip in question can be found at the 47:52 mark in this link to Tuesday night’s city council meeting. In it, she is seen on camera drinking from a glass of wine during a roll-call vote. Later, Fraley-Monillas left the virtual meeting. Her absence was noted by Council President Susan Paine, who reported that the councilmember was having dental issues and was unable to stay for the rest of the proceedings.

After a copy of the video was shared Wednesday morning, Fraley-Monillas sent an email to the council and mayor, stating she “was in an extreme amount of pain last night” due to an infection “that has gone from my jaw into my sinuses into my left eye.” The councilmember said she is scheduled to have surgery Thursday to address the issue.

In an interview with My Edmonds News Wednesday afternoon, Fraley-Monillas said she had a glass of wine with dinner prior to the remote meeting, and absent-mindedly took a sip of it during the vote, which was captured on camera.

“I don’t know what I was thinking,” the councilmember said, adding that her face was swollen and her lips were numb due to the infection.

Fraley Monillas said in her email message to the council that she “was trying to stay off screen last night  (because I looked so absolutely horrible) but apparently I turned on the screen when I meant to turn on the volume.”

Fraley-Monillas said that some people have implied that she was drunk, but “that could not have been further from the truth,” she said, adding that she drank about half a glass of wine with dinner.

“I probably shouldn’t have tried to attend the meeting to begin with,” she said, noting that Council President Paine and Councilmember Vivian Olson — both of whom were aware of her health issue — encouraged her to rest instead.

“I apologize for the commotion this is going to cause,” she said in her email to the council and the mayor.

Fraley-Monillas has been on the Edmonds City Council since 2010, and is seeking re-election to her Position 3 council seat. She will face former City Councilmember Neil Tibbott on the November election ballot.

— By Teresa Wippel


23 Replies to “Councilmember apologizes after being seen drinking wine during Tuesday meeting”

  1. I was shocked by her behavior and actions last night. She did not appear sober or, capable of voting on anything, let alone major city issues. I can’t believe those who witnessed this would vote for her in November. She apologized to the council but didn’t have the decency to apologize to the citizens she is supposed to serve. Is this the best we can do?


  2. Didn’t AFM and the mayor criticize publicly citizens who had been supposedly been seen drinking before coming to a council meeting? This is appaling and hypocritical.


  3. Typical AFM – does something egregious like describing Edmonds as “racist”, or downtown business owners as “a bunch of rich, old white men”, then attempts to explain it all away – now the same thing with drinking on the job.
    Thank goodness there is an election coming soon so we can elect leadership that believes in our city and it’s citizens and desires to serve them, and not denigrate the city and embarrass it with appalling behavior.


  4. I’d say tipsy. If you’re feeling that poorly why would you be drinking. Her excuse was that she thought her screen was turned off, really? & yes Kim where’s the apology to the Edmonds citizens.


  5. Just one more comment, and I could be wrong, but I reviewed the snippet that I saw at the beginning of the meeting had a quick shot of Adrienne drinking, but it appears to have been edited out on the City website. I am not trying to start a ruckus here, and again, I could be mistaken, if I am, I apologize. If not, is that transparent government?

    If anyone else saw the same thing between the two versions floating around out there, let me know. If I am wrong about the version on the City website being edited (it had to be done at someone’s request) it might be worth a few questions.

    Just saying. I hope, in this case, I am horribly wrong. If right, who edited the video and at who’s request?


    1. George — the clip that was shown on YouTube was manipulated to show her at a different time point in the meeting. That’s why I didn’t link to it, because it was misrepresented. I checked with two people in the city about it and they confirmed that no editing of the city video had taken place. The time point indicated in the city video is where the incident occurred. — Teresa


      1. That makes me feel significantly better. We don’t need more scandal and brewhaha in our local politics! Thanks for clearing that up, that’s why MEN is an exquisite source for local news.

        Crow doesn’t taste good, but I am willing to eat it….


  6. Jeez, you’d think some of you are running for office. It was a glass of wine people, get over it. If she was doing shots of tequila you’d have something to complain about.


    1. We are not running for office, but Adrienne is. Citizens were berated by the Mayor for political speech while supposedly drinking. Poor judgment is poor judgment. Employees of the City are held to a standard. If Council doesn’t have to live by that standard, should we report this lack of equity to the portal? Does drinking by a council person during a council meeting reflect leadership and hood judgment? If a teacher was teaching an online class to children and just had “a glass of wine” would that be something to get over? If the Governor gave a COVID update while drinking a glass of wine, would that be something to get over? I am all for wine. I am all for Bourbon. I am not all for the pot calling the kettle.

      There’s an election coming up. One would think that the importance of City matters would outweigh the temptation to have a glass of wine when you’re up for re-election. If it were a campaign event, get sloshed for all I care. It’s a City Council meeting, not a casual stroll through the kitchen on a Tuesday night.

      If nothing else, the appearance was reflective of some of the Bush league antics that we have seen recently in local politics.

      It’s not very accepting to ignore our concerns and tell us to get over it. That sounds like a way to reduce equity and inclusion in our community. I should report it to the portal, but I see your point and respectfully disagree without the portal.

      At the end of the day, the decisions made or not made by Council deal with real dollars and real impacts. Personally, I don’t want real wine involved in those decisions, regardless of the Council Member. Since I am not running for Council, I will raise my glass to Adrienne for selecting a red, my personal favorite, but just wish the timing was better.


      1. Keep in mind that AFM represents edmonds on the health board and is voting on decisions about vacinations and masks. Someone with good judgement should be making those decisions and she showed us that she doesn’t have that.


  7. Medical issues and stress can compel some to turn to alcohol for relief. It can happen. I sympathize with Councilperson Fraley-Monillas about her medical issue..

    IMHO the things to remember here are as follows:

    1. Although Adrienne Fraley-Monillas’ tone in this apology to her fellow Council members was humble and contrite in tone because she knew she was in trouble, many other exchanges with her fellow Council members have been combative and frankly bullying in nature.

    2. She has not apologized to the citizens of Edmonds for her behavior. And, frankly, her treatment of citizens here has often been disdainful, dismissive and bullying. She referred in the media to the “extreme racism” in Edmonds and has been caught out referring disdainfully to the “old white men” here.

    3. What makes this episode so very shocking is that Mayor Nelson had the gall to imply that some who spoke at a recent Council meeting, disagreeing with some of his positions on policy “had been drinking.” His clear implication is that they were drunk. And his accusation was based on hearsay. Mr. Mayor, you now have an instance of a sitting Council member who was clearly drinking at an official Council meeting and was likely impaired. As Tom Mesaros asked, what does Edmonds’ HR policy have to say about this?

    Lynne Chelius


    1. I certainly wouldn’t say it’s horrific. I would liken getting caught in this behavior to something my Dad always taught me, “If you’re going to be stupid, you’d better be tough.”

      Thankfully, I am still a bit of both. I am not sure if the comment was meant in jest, if so, I would agree that this kind of representation and behavior by a council person is absolutely a sitcom in the making. Perhaps we should call it “Friends….of the Mayor”. It could be similar to Friends. I just am trying to figure out who Phoebe and Joey would be. Thank God there was no crumb rubber involved.


  8. Just as point of clarification to all readers – it is never advised nor condoned by health-care professionals to ingest alcohol in any form while suffering an infection or taking pain medications of any type – even an ibuprofen.


  9. To me, this is heartbreaking. I think Adrienne’s past behavior and comments have been disrespectful and combative, I would say bullying; I disagree with her apparent vision for Edmonds. However, when someone is in pain, be it physical, emotional, or both, we must address the behavior with a different set of eyes.

    I pray Adrienne’s procedure was successful today, and that she can find comfort and peace in her recovery.


    1. Being a Council person puts any person in a position for scrutiny. That’s okay as long as it’s civil scrutiny. I am not 100% sure that I would say the reason she had a drink was x, but I agree that politics are, and should be, separate from how we treat another human being when in pain.

      Being a resident of Edmonds, or anywhere, (whether a council person or not) who is ill should demand some empathy and compassion. Like I said in an earlier post, those types of infections are painful and can pose a severe risk. I sincerely hope Adrienne feels better after the procedure. I don’t agree with her politics, that is obvious. That doesn’t mean I don’t want her to be healthy and out of pain.

      These are not mutually exclusive views. We can discuss the poor choice and show empathy for her medical issue at the same time.

      Again, feel better Adrienne.


  10. I just find all of this lunacy coming out of Edmonds City Government more of an embarrassment than anything else. Half the time our Council members are confused about what they are even voting on.

    We are like a hick town, all full of itself, that just can’t figure out a way to grow up and be a well run vibrant city that’s responsive to the real needs of all it’s citizens and visitors. We have a government designed to meet the needs of a village of 14,000 trying to meet the needs of a city soon to be in the area of 50,000.

    We expect highly dedicated and professional people to step forward to run and be appointed to part time jobs that require full time hours to even begin to meet all the requirements of the positions. How are these people supposed to know what is legal and illegal when they can’t depend on the legal advice they are given by part-time gig lawyers?

    We need to elect full time C.Ps out of geographical districts so there is some real and specific representation of real needs in real places. We need to come up with some sort of checks and balances on the over powerful Mayor position. Maybe an elected full time City Attorney and/or two year terms for Mayor to clean house more often, if needed. Maybe an elected town auditor with investigative powers to oversee how public funds are spent.

    As long as we go for government on the cheap, we will get what we pay for. Cheap, inefficient government that caters to special interests and creates bad legislation like tree codes that cause small trees to get cut down and litigation and hate reporting portals that create more distrust and animosity, solve nothing and have no real purpose.


  11. Thanks Clint. Perhaps a Task Force can be established to advise what form of Municipal Government is best for Edmonds at this time.

    I recently emailed City Officials an email that included the following:

    What Edmonds Ordinance(s) governs the formation and use of Task Forces?

    Per MRSC:

    Boards created only to advise, recommend policy, or provide other input to the legislative body are considered strictly advisory boards.

    Definitions of an advisory board differ among jurisdictions. How it is defined is strictly a local decision, but one that may need some care because of local code terminology defining who is covered by ethics codes or indemnification policies. These two examples illustrate the differences in practice.

    The City of Port Townsend includes task forces in its definition of advisory body and the City of Lynnwood excludes them.

    Port Townsend – An advisory board is any committee or commission created by the city council to give advice on subjects and perform such other functions as prescribed by the city council. Advisory board also includes task forces, informal committees, or working groups formed by city council resolution for short periods of time or for specific tasks. (City of Port Townsend Council Rules of Procedure, Section 4.2.1, updated March 2002)

    Lynnwood – An advisory body means any board or commission, and named board or commission in the ordinance or resolution creating the same, previously, or hereafter, created by the city council to give advice on subjects and perform such other functions as prescribed by the city council. Advisory body does not mean task forces, informal committees, or working groups appointed by the mayor or created by the city council for short periods of time or for specific tasks. (Lynnwood Municipal Code, Section 2.24.010 – Definitions)

    A search of Edmonds City Code AND the proposed Council Rules of Procedures fails to find any discussion of Task Force.

    As Council will consider a Resolution adopting Council Rules of Procedure on September 28, 2021, Council has an opportunity to establish what governs the formation and use of Task Forces. I hope they do so.


  12. Mandatory drug and alcohol testing for all City Employees, including Council Members and Mayor. I passed many of them. Can the City of Edmonds?


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