Less than a week before the anniversary of a white supremacist attack on Charlottesville, that community’s leaders are at war with each other – squabbling for more than an hour over the way the city’s mayor has been doing business.
The controversy stemmed from a closed door meeting at which four members of council voted to hire an interim city manager over the objection of Mayor Nikuya Walker. Acting on the city’s behalf, she made the offer, and the candidate sent an e-mail accepting it, but then Walker posted a lengthy complaint on Facebook, noting the group did not consult the public or share his resume with citizens.
“If we are moving to a city that’s equitable, that everyone can thrive in, then we make decisions differently than we’ve made them in the past.”
But that did not end the debate. A lively argument erupted over who said what and when, with former Mayor Mike Signer asserting the candidate for interim manager had been insulted.
“Okay, so his understanding was that he accepted an offer of employment,” said Signer.
“I have text messages from him, and he still knew things were up in the air. You keep saying that, but that’s not the case,” Walker replied.
“Hold on, hold on!” said councilman Wes Bellamy.
The accusations went on and on until Walker finally opted to take comments from the public. Citizen Tony Wash told the city’s elected leaders:
“The problem is the constant feuding, bickering, backstabbing, conniving each one of you do with each other. If you all don’t stop acting like children and start working together, you will not be able to solve the problems that face this city today and in the future.”
The man chosen for the job of interim manager decided not to accept after seeing Walker’s Facebook post – the job going, instead, to a seasoned assistant manager, Mike Murphy.