Letter to the Editor by Bill McNiff: Mayor Haviland’s Resignation

Opinion

Let’s set the record straight about the Nelson Mayor quitting.Mr. Haviland was not forthcoming to the press in his analysis of the events. Mr. Haviland ran for the job last summer and was elected November 2012. It was just after the embattled former Mayor resigned to run for a different office. Mr. Haviland knew in 2012 when he ran for the job that the previous City Council had amended the form of government from a strong Mayor-weak Council to a strong Council weak Mayor in 2011. Furthermore the previous City Council stripped all the previous Mayor’s powers except for some ceremonial tasks and code enforcement. Mr. Haviland knew this in advance of seeking the position. He was friends with the previous Mayor, who lives in the same subdivision. However since Nelson is so small nobody outside the city knew that the position of Mayor was virtually powerless.

Mr. Haviland went to Pickens and Cherokee County folks under false pretenses. One grant Mr. Haviland applied for the Nelson City Council rejected. They didn’t need the funds. The Council was being a good stewart of taxpayer funds by being thrifty. Mr Haviland was offended and the ill will started. The council was clear to Mr. Haviland stick to your job, which was mostly code enforcement. Do not pretend beyond your job description.

Mr. Haviland was asked in January when he took office if he would like to collaborate with the City Manager in the preparation of the Annual Budget and the Capital Improvement Plan. He opted out of those duties. Subsequently, four months later, in April when the City Manger had the first reading of the budget at a work session Mr. Haviland had a hissy-fit. Four months after opting out, he suddenly had some suggestions for the budget. Grandstanding pure and simple is what I called it. He had 4 months to propose these items to the Council but kept them to himself and grandstanded at the work session. Mr. Haviland, as Mayor, was running the work sessions and taking too long presenting his pet suggestions. The City council was annoyed and rejected his suggestions. This is the point in time at which Mr. Haviland tore up his papers and threw a hissy-fit . This was not appropriate behavior for a public official. All the members of the City Council were offended. It made Nelson look bad. As a result the City Council asked the City Attorney if it was necessary that the Mayor preside over future work sessions. This is the “stripping of power” referred to by Mr. Haviland in the press. I do not understand the man. He knew the office he was seeking was ceremonial at best, yet when he resigned he twisted words in the press to make the City and the Council look bad.

In my opinion this is the best City Council Nelson has had in all the time I have lived in Nelson. They took the city from the brink of insolvency to having reserve funds. They have started a park project, are converting useless assets into cash, are cutting expenses without cutting services. They are everything a fiscal conservative could want. So to Mr. Haviland, I say: thanks for quitting! Your time served was no more productive than the previous Mayor’s time served. Don’t Come Back. The good people of Nelson don’t need a quitter. They deserve better. They should elect someone who cooperates with the Council. And someone who acts maturely not just old in years.

Bill McNiff

Nelson, GA

Author

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