What are you hiding, Mr. Mayor?


July 1, 2021

By Loyal and Charlotte Baker


Dayton Chronicle

DAYTON–Our Fair City is abuzz with rumors in the wake of three top city officials being dismissed by Mayor Zac Weatherford on June 16.

It’s not rumor that the three–Trina Cole, City Administrator, Meagan Hayes, Planning and Development Director, and Jim Costello, Public Works Director–were summarily let go that day. That information was confirmed by Mayor Pro Tem Dain Nysoe, who noted that the action occurred without council discussion.

But what’s troubling is the lack of communication and transparency on the part of Mayor Weatherford.

This newspaper’s reporter, Melissa Gemmell, who covers the “city beat,” sought contact with Weatherford several times in the wake of the Wednesday morning firings last month.

What’s going on, Mr. Mayor?

This publication—and citizens of this town—have questions that demand answers.

In situations like this, especially situations like this, clear and frank communications with your constituents is paramount. In its absence, rumors begin and take on a life of their own. It’s human nature. As Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

The main question is why were these three fired at the same time?

It’s no secret that the City of Dayton is under water financially and that you have been making attempts to balance the budget by increasing utility rates and cutting council compensation for starters. Were these dismissals part of cuts to help balance the budget?

Were there other financial reasons? Or were there other reasons? How would anyone know without information from the mayor?

Your constituents need to know what is going on and keeping silent is not working in your favor.

Without an open dialogue with the public, through accurate, credible and responsible reporting by the Dayton Chronicle, the people of Dayton and Columbia County have no other alternative than to speculate and exchange copious amounts of information, some, most or all of it of dubious and questionable origin.

This isn’t the first time there’s been a dramatic event in the halls of government that spawned rumors that whirled and swirled around town, and it likely won’t be the last.

Mr. Mayor, you’ve accepted the challenge of leading the City Council as it governs this town, and now you’ve made some difficult decisions and have questions to answer. It’s time to answer the questions, talk with Dayton’s citizens and be frank about what was done and why. To do anything less invites further scrutiny and if it isn’t warranted, the truth will bear out. Prolonged silence through this suggests differently.


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