This week, members of the Wellington Village Council opened discussion on whether to fire Village Manager Paul Schofield, tabling the matter pending a review by a management consultant. We believe this monumental decision must be approached slowly and objectively, and we were relieved that council members opted to have further discussion before making a decision.
Schofield has led Wellington through dark economic times, weathering the storm without cutting crucial services. He slashed a nearly $130 million budget to $76 million, still managing to find funds to build the new Wellington Municipal Complex, Wellington Amphitheater and Patriot Memorial — all projects initiated at the request of council members — as well as improve Forest Hill Blvd., update the Wellington Aquatic Complex and set aside money to rebuild the Wellington Community Center.
All of this was done when other municipalities were ditching capital projects and making only crucial improvements. Wellington saved millions by investing when the market was low and now has a beautiful village center to show for it.
Under Schofield’s leadership, Wellington has focused on revitalizing some of its struggling neighborhoods, began drafting a plan for the village’s equestrian future and has worked to improve the quality of life for village residents.
In a time when the village is already facing turmoil, Wellington is in need of stability and leadership, and an upheaval of management in the village would only disrupt this goal.
We were glad to see the leadership that came from the dais when Mayor Bob Margolis suggested getting an objective view on the matter through an outside management consultant. We believe this is a good approach, as a decision this week would have thrown Wellington into further disarray.
We applaud Margolis for being willing to take a step back from the debate and look for the solution that will hopefully lead down the best path for Wellington’s residents. A hasty firing of the village manager would have left too many questions about whether it was the right decision.
We have long called for Wellington to take time to heal from the wounds of its controversial election, and we believe maintaining the village’s current management is crucial to this goal. However, it is equally important that cool heads continue to prevail, and that Wellington residents know the decisions from the dais are truly in their best interest.
We believe keeping Schofield is crucial to Wellington’s future success. It is clear that he is a person who can bring consensus to the community, as even community leaders with traditionally opposing viewpoints all came out to voice their support for him Tuesday night.
If there was one thing they could agree on, it was that Schofield is a great leader. We strongly believe that Schofield is an asset to Wellington. Members of the Wellington Village Council need to think long and hard before making a decision that could leave the village far worse off in the long run.