Ocean View Town Council members recently considered a letter from former mayor Gary Meredith that encouraged the current council to rescind the censure order on Councilman Bill Wichmann. That orginal censure came in July 2006 after Wichmann admitted he authorized a generator installation without council approval.
The council seemed divided on the issue and will re-visit it during their regular March council meeting.
“For me, I believe censure should only be for deliberate and premeditated failure to follow law or for criminal acts,” said Ocean View Mayor Gordon Wood, who was not on council when Wichmann was censured. “Censure is a severe punishment in my book.” Wood contined to say that Wichmann’s actions did not meet that threshold.
Frankly, we agree. As do many of the voters in Ocean View, who have since re-elected Wichmann to serve the town.
We won’t re-hash the original order to censure Wichmann. What happened, happened. Members of the town council were upset enough at the time to vote for him to be censured, and they voted to do just that.
However, it’s been more than three years, and the town is still being served by a council member who is censured. Voters have spoken. Time has lapsed. Wichmann has done nothing since that time to be rebuked by the Ocean View Town Council, he apologized for his actions with the generator years ago and it’s time to put the best interests of the town’s residents ahead of those of council members.
For a democracy to truly work, elected officials must be able to represent their constituents to the maximum of their abilities. Grudges and old business hold back progress.
We understand why Wichmann was censured in 2006. The generator installation was a big deal, and a very controversial subject. We might not have agreed with the drastic measure at the time, but we understood the reasoning and logic behind the vote.
However, it’s time to move on from these issues of the past if we wish to improve the town’s future.