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En masse resignations reflect disgust with "political narcissism" of leaders

The comments made by Damascus City Councilor Mel O’Brien and Mayor Steve Spinnett following the resignation of so many citizen volunteers in Damascus — as covered in the Friday, June 7, issue of The Outlook — are sadly unsurprising in their lack of thought and respect. What we have come to expect from them is a complete focus on their views, and a total dearth of any acknowledgment that others’ actions and positions are valid.

Chris HawesI served for three years with the members of the Committee for Citizen Involvement (CCI) who just resigned. None of them is shallow or small enough to do anything for the purpose of “grandstanding.” Each and every one of them was appalled at the treatment of former City Manager Greg Baker at the hands of Spinnett and his accomplices. All of the committee members felt disgust and anger at the way a personal need for vengeance was allowed to drive the actions of an elected city council.

Spinnett has made a habit of disrespectful comments about members of committees. His selfish approach to life leaves no room for any disagreement. He has made accusations about some members of CCI, simply because they do not share his bizarre view of politics. He claims to be a man of the people, but in reality, he is just about himself.

He illustrates his clueless self-focus when he says that the town halls hosted by the CCI are done, the Development Code Committee has wrapped up its work, and so the resignations of those good people is of little consequence.

He certainly sang a different tune when a former version of the CCI all resigned in protest of council action prior to his election. In that case, he used their resignation to attack that council as out of touch with the people they were supposed to serve.

Glaring hypocrisy is not a trait of high value in elected officials, and Mr. Spinnett regularly demonstrates why.

Each and every citizen volunteer who resigned has done more to help the city of Damascus than either of these two “leaders.”

While the city certainly had its issues prior to Spinnett’s election, he has shown a preternatural ability to make matters worse. Since being joined on council by his two ideological soul mates, positive actions by the council have become very rare.

It would be entertaining to watch this sad debacle, except that so far it involves immature, unqualified “leaders” trying to ruin a good man’s name, coupled with a disrespectful dismissal of a display of conscience and character by the committee members. And yet another instance of the city and its “leaders” being splashed across the news for the latest in nonsense and immature action by men who ought to be old enough to know better.

After all of the turmoil contained in last week’s resignations, as well as the discord caused by the forced resignation of the seventh city manager in nine years, Spinnett is on record saying that a very important aspect of that council meeting was his gang voting to give him back the power to set the meeting agendas.

This just absolutely perfectly illustrates the political narcissism he suffers from. The Ship of Damascus is headed at full speed into the rocks, and he wants to make sure everyone knows Capt. Spinnett is steering the boat.

We know, Steve. Believe me, we know.

Damascus resident Chris Hawes is former chairman of the city of Damascus’ Committee for Citizen Involvement and the city’s budget committee. He also is spearheading an effort to allow voters to decide whether to disincorporate as a city.




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