The council met Thursday to choose a new councilman for District 1. The six members interviewed 10 candidates, many of whom had extensive military careers.
During one of these interviews, county councilman Dick Ladd (R-5th District), of Broadneck, was joking with councilman Jamie Benoit (D-4th District), about his long military history when he used a racial slur.
"I was in the Vietnam War. It wasn't the Revolutionary War," Ladd said. "I was there when they had … flak jackets and web gear, because we thought the gooks were coming across the (inaudible). Which is the technical term for North Koreans, let the record show."
The word, a derogatory term for East Asians used during the Vietnam War, created a stir in the audience as some gasped and others chuckled.
Later in the meeting, Ladd issued an apology after saying that it came to his attention through modern technology, referring to his cell phone.
"I need to apologize for that. That was a term out of my past that we frequently used to describe an opponent," Ladd said. "If I have offended anybody, I'll take the hit on that."
The apology elicited applause from many in the crowd.
Much of the talk during Thursday's meeting was over race and diversity. Former councilman for District 1, Daryl Jones, is black. Many of the questions the council asked candidates involved their perception of diversity and its relevance on the council.