Letter: Perhaps My First Letter Was Not Clear

Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to the letter “Unger Supports Councilman Matt Willhite,” published last week.

I, like many in the community, have the greatest respect for George Unger. He is always informed, writes from the heart and has the best interest of the community at all times. Councilman Matt Willhite should feel good about George taking his side on any issue. I personally feel that George Unger has performed an extremely valuable service to this community over the last 20 years by his letters and speaking up at meetings — too many to count. Probably my fault for being inarticulate, but my letter of Aug. 16 missed the point.

George was correct in stating that Mr. Willhite voted against the sale of K-Park to Palm Beach State College, and in a letter I congratulated him on that, but it was [former Councilman] Carmine Priore who was the lead person on that council decision. George is also correct in stating that Councilwoman Anne Gerwig and Vice Mayor Howard Coates were ahead in negative votes over the last two years, but when you factor out the Jacobs-Bellissimo issues, Councilman Willhite is always on the losing side of 4-1 or 3-2 votes on all issues facing the village.

Mr. Unger also referred to the last elections, with Councilman Willhite winning a second term as proof that he was doing a good job. But to be honest, if I had $500,000 behind me (for the triad) as campaign money in a simple municipal election, I could have beat Jefferson or Lincoln, and Bill Clinton.

As some of my peers suggested, I was far too focused on Councilman Willhite and not on the issue at hand, which was the working together of all elements of the community on a plan to move this wonderful community of ours forward in a positive manner. In a recent episode of [MSNBC’s] Morning Joe, the group discussed why metropolitan areas, counties and cities have come together and been successful, when state and federal politicians have come to a stalemate on every issue. Business leaders, politicians, union officials, environmentalists, recreation leaders, senior activists and all sectors of communities have come together and forged an alliance to fund and move their community forward despite gridlock at the other levels.

This is where Councilman Willhite falls short; he seems to be unable to compromise or work with his peers to achieve a consensus on issues vital to this community. Councilman Willhite’s constant attempt to find fault within staff (and you will always find some fault in an organization this big if you look long enough) has terrorized staff and employees who fear for their jobs.

Mayor Bob Margolis said it best: “Many of staff seem reluctant to give information or work with council members or residents on any issue.” Mayor Margolis seems to have pin-pointed these problems and wants to work on them, while Councilman Willhite is off on another tangent after initializing the workshop on firing the village manager.

If Mr. Willhite really wants to assist residents in saving money and reducing the load of government on us, he can begin by reducing the onerous fire-rescue fees levied on the residents, which exceed even the entire Village of Wellington real estate tax on all the benefits we receive from the village. This far exceeds the small amount of benefits the department provides to residents. So after two terms, as he continues to intimidate staff, continues to attempt to micromanage the day to day activities of the village, I submit that Councilman Willhite is not part of the solution but a large part of the problem, as he refuses to compromise or work with those he opposes.

Steve Haughn