ST. GEORGE – Leeds Mayor Alan Roberts read a letter of resignation to the Town Council Wednesday. The resignation came in the wake of the resignations of two other town officials just after New Year’s. St. George News reported on the three resignations Thursday.
Roberts has taken issue with the report, inferring that a correlation has been made between citizen criticisms and his resignation, he has also demanded a retraction. While St. George News did not draw such a correlation, the mayor’s concern is understood and his clarification is offered here without hesitation.
In a letter to St. George News and others dated Jan. 11, Roberts wrote:
“Let it be known that my resignation has nothing to do with Grapevine Wash or the conduct by people’s criticism or comments. As an elected official, I expect to be criticized and that people would disagree with some decisions that are made. I can handle ‘the heat’. It is extremely irresponsible of you to imply or incorporate those assumptions in your article.
“The letter (of resignation) should have sufficed, however it is apparent that people will conjecture instead of getting the facts.
“The office of Leeds Mayor has consumed an enormous amount of my time and resources. I ran for election to serve the citizens of Leeds and to help protect the Constitutional and individual rights of the citizens. Leeds is unable and unwilling to provide the proper staff to conduct the daily operations required by a municipality. This requires more time and resources from Leeds elected and appointed officials. I did not run for office to be subject to slavery. It is critical that individuals elected to office desire to give service and not desire monetary compensation. However, it should not be a financial depletion on any elected or appointed person to hold a political office.
“With some changes in my personal and family needs, I find it necessary to focus my time and resources towards those needs.”
A copy of the mayor’s resignation may be seen here: Mayor Alan Roberts letter of resignation
On editorial review, no retraction is found warranted. It is considered that Roberts’ exception concerns the inclusion of the following statement near the close of the Jan. 10 report:
“Over the last year some Leeds residents have been critical of Roberts and other town officials due to perceived conflicts of interest involving the controversial Grapevine Wash development.”
Allowing that such criticisms have nothing to do with Roberts’ resignation as he has said they do not, the truth of community dissent and debate between the citizenry and leadership of Leeds this past year is indisputable.
Among other things, such dissent and debate was reported in six separate articles of St. George News in 2012, with links provided at the close of each related report. Extensive discussion and dissent between citizenry and Leeds leadership is readily accessed via the website, “Get Involved Leeds.”
In a Dec. 17, 2012, post to the Get Involved Leeds website, for example, Annette Densley wrote of the possible need for the mayor and some officials to step aside:
“The Mayor & some officials are like many politicians in this country who have forgotten that their positions are to serve the community and represent the voice of the people, and not impose their personal views/agendas on their communities’ peoples. Some who ran for office have forgotten their promises and platforms that got them elected. .…
“The mistakes that have been made by the Town of Leeds officials don’t make them bad people. They work hard and are dedicated to what they believe in, and to that end, try to do their best. However, whether new or old to politics, it is evident that some do not have the knowledge, experience, or training in state or federal laws.
They should not be afraid to admit their mistakes and endeavor to do better in the future; if that is not possible, they should step aside.” (Emphasis added.)
The mayor’s response to St. George News’ invitation to comment upon residents’ criticism and conflict-of-interest is reflected in the statements first quoted above.
It is also noted that the dissent and debate has not been particularly pointed at the mayor, himself; he has been praised as well as challenged. Karen Markovich wrote, for example, on June, 7, 2012, following a meeting in which the mayor met personally with community members at a Town Hall meeting:
“We sincerely thank Mayor Roberts for his time fielding questions for almost 5 hours on Tuesday evening. The time sacrificed by our current Mayor is reminiscent of our 2002-2005 Mayor Norma Gier, who literally worked selflessly around the clock for our townspeople for over 4 years.”
Grapevine Wash Development plans remain at odds between the Town and the developer.
Leeds meeting considers highway interchange and town growth, April 19, 2012
Leeds town council temporarily tables controversial development, October 26, 2012
Leeds town council votes down Grapevine Wash development, November 15, 2012
Attorney: Grapevine Wash Developer will sue Leeds for relief, December 19, 2012
Leeds: 3 resignations in a week; mayor plus 2 from planning commission, January 10, 2013
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