By Onley Mayor Matt Hart
I believe the Censure Resolution that passed by a “bare majority” was nothing more than a political ploy in hopes to swing voters to my opponent this November. In this Resolution, I was accused and convicted of seven “offenses” with not one shred of evidence of these alleged offenses. The residents of the Town of Onley have no idea what really went into creation of this resolution. What we do know is that it was created in the secret closed meeting held on May 19th. The Onley Town Council undoubtedly, stated false allegations about me. I applaud Councilwoman Pierson and Councilman Zember who abstained from voting on this resolution. These 2 had no parts of it passing as one stated “that they did not like the way it was handled” and the other stated, “that the problem is not with the mayor; the problem is with this council.” I would like the public to know that I have had many of my own issues with this council. I will not go into these issues as I don’t find it appropriate to do so, but please know that this job has not been easy. I was as many of you know elected by 1 vote, therefore going into my first term as mayor; I knew I had an uphill battle.
This job wouldn’t have been such an uphill battle if the powers/duties of the mayor were not stripped under a charter change which was signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam in July of 2019. The charter change that I am speaking of gave all the powers and duties from the mayor to the town manager. Therefore, this left the position of mayor nothing more than a ceremonial figure and someone who conducts the meetings for the town council monthly. I believe this charter change is detrimental to the town of Onley as it does not warrant checks and balances as the original forefathers intended it to do. We must have an elected leader, who is in charge of this town who holds the title, “mayor”. Every city, and mostly every town across this beautiful country of our elect’s one for this same exact reason and the town of Onley should be no different.
In closing, I just want to say, for those residents of the town who voted for as your Mayor to sweep some dust out of the Town Hall and get some fresh energy into the way Onley is managed, I was accused, tried, and convicted in a Star Chamber convened by no more than four residents of the town. If you want proof that power can get concentrated in the hands of a tiny percentage of the population, you have to look no further then the Onley Town Hall. Whatever the technical basis of the court’s ruling in the FOIA hearing may have been, the unintended consequence of that ruling is the virtual end of transparency in government of our town.