On May 25, the residents and owners of South Bethany have a clear choice in the Town Council elections — experience or new voices.
The new voices are certainly new, since they have not been heard in any town volunteer activities, committees, commissions or boards, nor have they actively participated in the property owner association (SBPOA) opportunities.
Instead, I believe their voices have been heard in the sentiments expressed in the anonymous postcards sent to residents earlier this year and in extremely negative comments on Nextdoor Neighbor app.
Are these new voices willing to devote the many hours required of our council — preparation for meetings, council meetings, workshops, committee meetings and leadership, writing grants for state money and interfacing with outside organizations
Since the new voices are so new to volunteering in the town, I’m not sure they understand the significant time commitment required to do the full job, which is certainly more than one issue.
I will be voting for experience, with my vote going to Carol Stevenson, Frank Weisgerber, Gerald “Jerry” Masiello and Dick Oliver. The three incumbent town council members have served this town not only as town council members but additional dedicated many hours on Water Quality, Community Enhancements, Public Relations.
Although Dick Oliver would be a new voice to town council, he has served many years on the Planning Commission, water quality and SBPOA. We need this experience — not candidates whose voices are grounded in uninformed hostility which unnecessarily tore the town apart and was provoked by the previous town and police leadership.
This all seemed to start with the infamous “Don’t Outsource Our Police” signs. This was a bogus campaign meant to cause fear in our residents. At no time was this council or the previous council considering outsourcing. The Comprehensive Plan endorsed by the council and approved by the State clearly states that we will maintain a local police force. This objective has always been in place and is the result of the owner survey conducted as part of writing our 2016 comprehensive plan.
There has been a criticism of this council for lack of transparency. There is only one reason for private, non-public meetings — that is personnel issues and challenges. Those must have been significant, since it was deemed necessary for legal counsel to attend many of these meetings.
Although I don’t have knowledge of specifics, based on town meetings and minutes I can surmise some of these issues — most dealing with very poor management of the police department. The department often came to council after the fact, asking for money to cover already-spent overtime salary, announcing missed revenue targets (again after the fact), inaccurate police reports (I know this since, my home was involved in one and not reported), outdated computer equipment, lack of standard operating procedures and “blue flu” during the height of the summer season.
I am reluctant to guess what else there was, since specific personnel issues could not and should not be shared with the public. This is not lack of transparency; it is upholding the council’s responsibilities to town staff and to our legal system.
I hope my neighbors will join me in supporting Carol, Frank, Jerry and Dick on May 25 and vote for the reasonable voices governed by experience with a true track record to show the ethical service we can expect from them.