Editor: As a former town manager for Lovettsville, I want to share with readers the reason for the lack of a second to a motion regarding a proclamation. In your article on last week’s Pride Month proclamation request, you wrote, “Other supporters of the resolution who gathered in the meeting room said the council’s inaction was an exhibit of bigotry and cowardice”
Approximately one year ago, the Lovettsville Town Council identified several practical approaches to handling proclamation requests. They incorporated those approaches into a policy which they adopted. The creation of that policy took considerable deliberation and discussion. The adopted policy would allow them to approve only those requests that meet specific criteria contained in the policy. A careful reading of the policy would have determined that the recent Pride Month request did not meet the criteria, and therefore should never had been placed before the Town Council for consideration and a vote. The lack of a second by the council was directly related to complying with the policy criteria.
If a request for a proclamation does not meet pre-determined criteria and is denied, it does not mean that the elected body does not support the communities’ interests. And, if the request does not meet the pre-determined criteria and is not approved, it does not reflect on the personal views of the Town Council or their individual views. Calling their actions as “bigoted” is inappropriate and does not take into consideration the responsibilities of local officials to create and implement policy for the good of the entire community.
I respect the passion of speakers when it comes to expressing their personal beliefs. I believe they have the right and should continue to have the right to air their views and voice their concerns. But I am equally passionate about the rights of public officials, both elected and appointed. They, too, have rights and should not be subject to harmful allegations which are unfounded.
I spent 17 years working on and off in the Town of Lovettsville. I worked for every Lovettsville mayor and most every councilperson and, I haven’t always agreed with their views. And I, too, voiced my concerns when I disagreed. The Lovettsville Town Council’s action on this issue was an act of consistency; consistency by following a town policy. It has nothing to do with cowardice or bigotry. I applaud the actions of the Town Council for having the guts to follow a policy that is balanced, makes sense, and most importantly is designed to prevent inconsistency regarding requests for Proclamations from the community.
Samuel A. Finz, Purcellville