By Larry Nelson

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Sidney mayor, council moving the goalposts


Dear Editor,

Since early July, there has been much concern among the good citizens of Sidney about the treatment of our chief of police, B.J. Wilkinson. He received an outrageous sentence for his plea.

The mayor and city council wanted to assure the good people of Sidney that they would conduct a thorough investigation. They would hold executive sessions and get to the bottom of it all.

The mayor was sent emails and had public requests to support B.J. Wilkinson. Council members were sent similar emails and had to have taken input from citizens about this matter. The impression was that the future of the chief of police was in the hands of the mayor and the city council. Many of us knew that, by gosh, our mayor and city council members would make this right.

Two officials in our city government are no longer employed here. One, who had done very significant work for Sidney, will be sorely missed. Instead of allowing him to exit in a timely manner, he was gone within 24 hours. That was what the mayor deemed leadership, yes sir.

At the city council meeting on Tuesday evening, the 13th of October, the mayor moved the goalposts. The matter concerning the chief of police was no longer a matter for the mayor and city council. The mayor found or directed others to find, a state statute that stated the city manager hired the chief of police and that the disposition of this was a personnel matter. Really?

When the interim city manager was asked when to expect this disposition, her first glance was not at the questioner, but at the mayor. The interim city manager answers to the mayor and city council.

Mr. Mayor, you have tried to conduct some form of magic here … “now you see it, now you don’t.” We, the mayor and city council want all you folks to know we are on top of this matter and please keep needling us. In the end, we’ll pass it off to a terribly overworked interim city manager who will do what we tell her to do.

Mayor Mienheuser, your attempt to skirt making a public decision shows your inability to lead. You can’t do the right thing, so you rely on some statute to justify your ineptitude. You don’t have the courage to plainly state where you and the council stand so you lay it off on an interim city manager? What a disappointment. Another aspect to all this is that you just expect the citizens to just go along with it? That, in itself, is disrespectful to us as citizens.

Larry Nelson



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