Editor: I am usually never surprised when it comes to what politicians are capable of when they plot to deceive the public but Monday night at the Leesburg Town Council meeting, I was astonished at the speed of the deception. The special meeting was called to review the applications of the Leesburg residents who had expressed an interest in the vacant town council seat and I was one of those who had expressed interest.
From the beginning it was clear that there was not going to be a proper process for vetting the résumés and Mayor Dave Butler said that they would simply nominate a name and keep voting until one person received four votes. Tom Dunn nominated someone with no introduction of that person or discussion of why he nominated them or how they would bring value to the citizens of Leesburg. On the first and only ballot that person received the four votes. Period. It was all over.
If the democratic process is to represent a fair and open process, then the Town Council failed miserably. This set-up was in long before the vote and the same four that voted for Dave Butler to fill the mayor’s seat voted again to replace Butler’s open seat with a candidate of their choosing. In fact, a nameplate had already been prepared for this person long before the vote was taken. This could be witnessed as I watched the rest of the Town Council meeting on television.
The process tonight was an insult to the 16 qualified people that took time to submit their letters of interest and résumés for the open position. Monday night’s action should be a wake up call to all of us in Leesburg that the once non-partisan desire for the Town Council maybe was never a reality but has clearly become partisan. This fact should concern the residents of Leesburg as it limits the ability of all voices to be heard and limits the effectiveness of your elected leaders to properly represent your concerns on the local, county and state levels.
I am running for Leesburg Town Council in November to bring Leesburg back to the citizens. I want to represent all the voices of Leesburg and not the few in power. I am running to engage the residents of Leesburg in a meaningful way so that we can develop a governing relationship and hear your voice when we vote on issues that affect the communities you live in, the budget, the taxes you pay and the services and programs you receive. Monday night’s process and outcome reinforced the fact that your voice does not matter. Your vote is the only thing that these politicians will listen to and only if they fear being voted out.
I hope to earn your vote in November and ask that all of us pay closer attention to the important matters before the Town Council between now and then. Please understand that your vote matters if you want to keep Leesburg moving forward.
The time has come for change.
Ron Campbell, Leesburg