While I do not make it a practice to respond to letters to the editor, I feel I must clarify my role in the matter of the CAO selection for the residents of Cumberland.
My first suggestion to council was to consider leaving this selection process to the new council in December and that was declined by the majority and that is fair enough.
I then proposed that the mayor and two councillors along with an HR professional, and a CAO from another jurisdiction form the selection committee and make recommendation to the whole council for final approval.
Since the three councillors who eventually formed the committee all wanted to be on it and did not wish to spend money on the professional additions, I chose not to be a part of it and I did nothing to block them from carrying out their democratic right.
When I was contacted by the media to advise me that there was a lot of talk around town, which I had also heard, that the selection was wrong and the candidate was not suitable, I stated clearly that I do not know the candidate and he may be very good, but the process was a mockery.
That was no doubt a strong word, which I normally would not have used, but my concern was not sour grapes, and I did not disrespect the democratic process. I, in fact told the mayor-elect that if they are happy with their choice, good for them. They do not need my blessing.
But it is my obligation to respond to a question and I did so. I did not go out and approach the media. My concern was more for the need for the process to withstand the scrutiny of a challenge from one of the other candidates.
I believe I have served fairly well for the past 15 years and made the choice to let new blood take over on my own, so there would be no reason for “sour grapes.”
I have no doubt made mistakes and will continue to make them in whatever I do, but I have never done anything that was not intended to be for the betterment of the Village of Cumberland and I will stand behind that statement in my what I feel is an earned retirement.
If there are those who wish to continue to throw mud, so be it. I have no difficulty accepting that everyone will not share my vision, but do not accept that I should be ashamed of my actions on behalf of my village.
Editor’s note: Mayor Fred Bates did not run for re-election.