Editorial: Commissioner’s pettiness makes them “laughing stock”

275-LAUGHING-CROWDEditorial: Commissioner’s pettiness makes them “laughing stock”

Michael Gold, Editor

Whoever knows what politicians will do, or why? As political parties caucus to determine who their candidates will be during next year’s presidential election, we are all witness to the unpredictable behavior during what I call, “the silly season”.

I feel compelled to say, however, that Hillary and “The Donald” have nothing that beats the petty behavior shown in recent months by our own local candidates and politicians. It amazes me that people who are old enough to know better, somehow regress into a second childhood once the fickle finger of fate briefly points their way.

Over the last six weeks, I have seen a growingly dysfunctional city commission in my home town where our elected officials are of the opinion that they are a little bit better than the citizens who elect them and who they are supposed to represent.

Our mayor, Nancy Shaver, elected directly by the voters of the City of St Augustine, turned 69-years-old on November 5th. How many commissioners wished her a happy birthday during the Monday night meeting? None, despite the fact that a couple of public speakers did.

Our vice-mayor by appointment, Roxanne Horvath, currently 63-years-old, will turn 64 on December 10th. She rarely agrees with the mayor, but, at least among the commissioners, she is somewhat civil toward the mayor — even though she is a loyal supporter of the former mayor.

The remaining three commissioners, 59-year-old Nancy Sikes-Kline, 45-year-old Leanna Freeman, and 41-year-old Todd Neville, who turns 42 on December 4th, regularly are guilty of marginalizing the mayor, trying to take control of meetings, and trying to look more important than they are. Their tactics include trying to overplay the role of the city manager and regularly stating that the mayor is an “honorary position” or otherwise no more important than them.

According to the description published on the website for the City of St Augustine, “The Mayor of St. Augustine is the official head of the city government and presides at all commission meetings and other official city functions.” And, as such, the mayor is paid $21,948 for her service; commissioners only earn $16,461 annually.

I’m sure, by virtue of the (too) many years that they have taken up space at the table, they feel entitled to have been made mayor. One of them was overheard earlier this year in the Harper Valley section of Davis Shores, saying, had they known Mayor Shaver could actually defeat Joe Boles, as she did, they would have run, themselves. Petty, petty, petty. There are those who observed the juvenile infatuation and fawning over Joe during meetings and have remarked it must have been his charisma, while others who know them after-hours say they believe it was his cockmanship that kept women away from the ballot.

Nonetheless, the entire commission will never be accused of acting their age. I find that unusual. Given their obsession with more civility rules, and the recent failed attempt to silence media reports concerning Todd Neville’s campaign contributions, I have to say to Mayor Shaver, please use that gavel to restore some order at the dais. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, Todd.

The sad part is, of course, we, the people, have to suffer the embarrassing jeers and laughter from the grownups until our next election.

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