Woodland Mayor answers critics

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 12, 2005

WOODLAND – Mayor Margaret Burgwyn took an opportunity to express her dissatisfaction with the town board here Thursday night.

At the end of the regular meeting of the commissioners, Burgwyn said there were a few things she would like to say.

&uot;Over the past couple of months, there have been some meetings that were less than satisfactory from my point of view,&uot; she said.

The mayor then proceeded to lay out issues she had over dealings with a grant proposal submitted to the board by Anthony Clark. He proposed to build a housing complex in the town.

She insisted that neither she nor anyone else from the town had authorized Clark to use the town’s name in any grant proposal.

The major issue for the mayor was the town board’s refusal to hold a public hearing concerning the grant.

Burgwyn said she asked Town Clerk Gail Coston to call a meeting for the express purpose of setting a date for the public hearing. The notice for the meeting, she said, had other issues added and the notice said the commissioners had called the meeting.

&uot;What I thought was it would be to everybody’s advantage, including Mr. Clark’s, to go through the public hearing before our meeting,&uot; she said. &uot;We could then discuss it in the meeting and the board could have voted in favor, voted it down or set up a special meeting to discuss it.

&uot;I don’t think this board would have voted to approve it,&uot; she continued. &uot;I don’t understand. I was left out of the loop and so was Commissioner (Thomasena) Boone.

&uot;You didn’t trust the process and, more importantly, you didn’t trust me,&uot; the mayor said.

Commissioner Les Clark said that the issue as far as he was concerned was the timing of the request.

&uot;The problem was the time line,&uot; he said. &uot;We didn’t know an application had been submitted with our name on it. The problem is he (A. Clark) set a deadline without letting us have time – he had six months.

&uot;If he walked in the July meeting and said I’ve bought this land and I would like to pursue this grant, I think it would have been different,&uot; L. Clark said. &uot;I think we would have said we would be glad to work with you. I, personally, would have, but it came too late.&uot;

The mayor and commissioner then discussed the fact that the mayor was attempting to set a public hearing on a tabled item. Commissioner Clark insisted the hearing couldn’t be set on the tabled item while Burgwyn said a public hearing was not discussion because the board did not discuss, rather listened, during a public hearing.

&uot;If it was tabled, there was no reason for a public hearing,&uot; L. Clark said.

The mayor responded, &uot;I thought it was understood that if he had to have it in, we would meet to set a date for a public hearing, not to discuss it.

&uot;The problem on my part is because you didn’t trust me,&uot; she added.

&uot;I might not have trusted the process of Mr. Clark,&uot; Les Clark added.

Commissioner Beth Phillips said she thought the problem was a lack of communication.

&uot;Personally I felt everything was thrown at us at one time,&uot; she said. &uot;All the information came in at one time and trying to read, understand and comprehend what we were given, we did not get a chance to ask the questions we should have because of the intense feelings of those who were here. I was concerned about what may have happened here.

&uot;We were trying to get to our business, but I was concerned for the public, for us,&uot; Phillips continued. &uot;It was a very heated discussion.&uot;

&uot;When you have transparent meetings that happens sometimes,&uot; Burgwyn said.

The mayor also said she wished the commissioners had spoken to her about their feelings.

&uot;Some things I know I can’t share in an open meeting,&uot; Burgwyn said. &uot;I can share them one-on-one. I hope from this point forward there will be more consideration from the board members.

&uot;We have to work as a team,&uot; she continued. &uot;We don’t have to agree. I don’t know at what point we started listening to the public instead of the people at this table. I am sorry that happened.&uot;

Phillips said she had to deal with the issue personally.

&uot;I don’t question anyone’s judgment,&uot; Phillips said. &uot;We don’t always agree, but we respect each other’s opinions.&uot;

Neither Commissioner David Cooper nor Commissioner Boone made any comment.