Vail Daily letter: Still a divided town
Pam Boyd’s article in the Vail Daily on Dec. 8 regarding the resignation of Eagle’s town manager was informative but in my opinion did not accurately convey how odd the public comment portion of the meeting was.
Before the public was allowed to speak, Mayor Kostick clearly explained that some new information regarding the personnel issue with Jon Stavney had surfaced and needed to be discussed in executive session before they could allow public comment. People immediately began to interrupt him with questions on why they were going into executive session, even though it was just explained to them by the mayor, and words like “suspicious” and “unfair” were shouted out.
This set the tone for what was to become a bizarre and somewhat nasty display of emotions and a basic lack of understanding of how personnel issues are handled among employers and employees. Anyone who has ever held a job should know their basic right to privacy in any personnel issue, and if for whatever reason, your employer deemed your work to be unsatisfactory, then I would imagine most people would be thankful that your employer cannot, by law, make those details known to the public. However, if you feel that you have been terminated unfairly, then you certainly have the right to tell your friends and supporters your version of what happened, as Mr. Stavney could easily do if he wishes to.
While I applaud some people for their professional, respectful behavior during that meeting, and their ability to convey their thoughts in a calm and eloquent manner, others chose a different tactic. They clearly demonstrated that either they have never been to a town meeting before or they don’t understand that their inability to control their emotions, showing utter disrespect to their elected officials, and being angry over a personnel issue in which they, by their own self-admission had no information on, made them look pretty silly to their fellow Eagle citizens.
One such example of this is when one citizen managed to call the mayor a liar, then incorrectly identified which trustees were elected and which were appointed, and went on to signal out the newest appointed trustee, stating that he should recuse himself from voting on the town manager’s resignation. That trustee had already decided to abstain from voting, but then, moments later when the vote didn’t have the outcome she wanted, she begged that very trustee to vote and proceeded to mutter some nasties when he wouldn’t.
She, and others, stated that the current board should not vote on this matter and that a future board should. The logic of that suggestion completely escapes me. How would a new board have any clue as to what transpired over the time Stavney was employed by the town? The current board has the right to hire or fire town managers. Town managers are routinely fired — it is not at all uncommon. In fact such a situation is often addressed in their contract, as it was in Mr. Stavney’s. Perhaps some Eagle residents aren’t used to seeing that though, because the former town manager, Willie Powell somehow held on to his job for an extraordinarily long period of time.
One thing that is very obvious to me is that the town of Eagle has been and still is very much divided. Even the trustees had a difference of opinion on Mr. Stavney; however, the two trustees who voted to reject his resignation also made it extremely clear that they respected the board’s decision (this was not reported by the Vail Daily).
While it was refreshing to see so many people in attendance at that meeting, displaying so much passion, I am left wondering why there hasn’t been this much involvement in other larger issues, such as Eagle River Station and Haymeadow, which would affect citizens on a much larger magnitude.
I would like to thank former trustee Brandi Resa for being instrumental in having these meetings recorded for the public to view online, and I highly suggest everyone do so at townofeagle.org. Judge for yourself the competence (or incompetence) of the current board of trustees and Stavney, rather then rely on newspaper reporting, editorials from the publisher, letters to the editor, and testimonies from friends — all of which can be biased.
Speaking of biased, the editorials written by Don Rogers are starting to take on the tone of something that belongs in the tabloids. Don, am I to infer that you condone the behavior of all the people in that meeting on Dec. 7? Were you there?
I believe the board was acting in what they thought was in the best interest for the town of Eagle, and I am sure they are aware there might be some political ramifications, but not all elected officials are concerned about votes — some actually do what they think is best, and stick to their beliefs. I think if you watch previously recorded meetings, you might just get some clues as to why this action was taken against Jon Stavney, and the decision to suspend him just might not seem so “sudden and rash” after all.