Rochester politics are off to an ugly start in 2018.
Council President Randy Staver deleted his social media presence overnight after commenting on a video posted by Council Member Michael Wojcik. The two councilors are frequent dueling partners in the council chambers, with their relationship becoming increasingly hostile over the past year.
In the post, Staver criticized Wojcik's behavior during an earlier council meeting in which Mayor Ardell Brede announced he would not be seeking reelection this November.
"In 2017 he showed complete disrespect for Stevan Kvenvold and tonight he doubled down by his complete lack of disrespect (sic) for Ardell Brede," said Staver. Kvenvold, the former city administrator, retired last year after more than 40 years with the city. Staver added, "Both these gentlemen have far more experience, credibility and stature than Michael pretends to have."
Wojcik responded by stating: "I was criticized for not applauding hard enough after the state of the city speech. I am disappointed that an official city meeting was used for a campaign announcement, I am disappointed that the Mayor wore campaign materials to a council meeting, and don't even get me started when Ardell started talking about why no 'Ethnics' want to be on city boards. While I resisted the strong urge to remain sitting after that performance, apparently my simply standing was not sufficient to honor 'his eminence...' "
Read the full transcript of Brede's final State of the City address.
Staver also criticized Wojcik for calling for a vote on the city's comprehensive plan update. A motion to approve the document — now three years in the works — failed by a vote of 4-3, with Staver joining Council Members Ed Hruska and Mark Hickey in voting "nay." A supermajority of five votes was needed to adopt the plan.
According to Staver, Wojcik knew there would not be enough votes to pass the motion and claimed the Ward 2 representative's request for a roll call vote was done to "embarrass certain members of the council."
Local business owner Abe Sauer took issue with Staver's statement and replied: "You say it was 'little more than an attempt to embarrass certain members of the council.' Not embarrass, but put on the record. That's called 'politics.' You get elected reps on the record with their votes."
Within an hour of Sauer's comment, Staver decided he had enough and took down his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
What do you think? Did Staver make a good decision by removing himself from the dark hole of the Internet? Or does he owe it to the public as an elected representative to be accessible through social media?
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