Mayor Tanya Velishek, in a commentary in the Jordan Independent wrote, “Everyone has the right of speech as well as the right of their opinion, but when it comes to slander, non-facts, and untrue statements, it can persuade the community and others to believe a perspective that is not correct and cause false perceptions when individuals are providing ethical and moral decisions.”
Can the mayor cite a slanderous or untrue statement I made in public towards her? No.
Whatever the mayor’s feelings, they are not my words.
The mayor has no problem telling the community at a public meeting “there were more than six employees that had concerns for harassment or sexual harassment.” Again not gathering facts.
First, not one direct allegation was brought forward. In fact, according to the city attorney, only six interviews were conducted. So how can there be “more than six” allegations? Second, one of the employees stated “does NOT interfere with women’s personal space and does not enter their offices.”
Third, another employee claimed “talks negatively about city decisions.” Do you see any harassment or sexual harassment in those factual statements?
I don’t, but that’s not what the mayor claimed.
Fourth, the mayor also stated “Legal counsel set up a meeting with the Personnel Committee and Will to provide him with the opportunity to determine his choice of interviewing members.”
That statement is a flat-out lie. The process of me being able to pick interviewing members never happened. Nor was it ever mentioned to me. If I had been given such a choice, I would not have picked the mayor to attend. The mayor had already sent me a threatening “reminder” of what constitutes defamation and slander from some attorney who never even bothered to sign the letter. Further, at least one other council member expressed concerns about the mayor’s ability to be fair and objective.
The mayor’s claim that I sent an e-mail to all the council members except the mayor is true. I am free to send my opinion to whomever I want, when I want. Since I have been on the council we have been instructed on multiple occasions about how to avoid serial meetings. The city attorneys and other experts have stated that the e-mail was not a serial meeting, yet the mayor cannot accept the fact she is wrong.
The mayor writes “As a professional medical provider...” Is it ethical to make a public diagnosis based on one’s opinion, with no facts to back it up? If I want medical advice I’ll forego the online diagnosis the Mayor provided. An ethical professional would never engage in such behavior.
The mayor also writes “Most individuals are unaware of their actions and justify their behaviors by saying “I don’t recall” or “This is how I grew up.” The implication is that I said these things. Could it be, when asked a question, I couldn’t remember saying something, and rather than deny it I answered honestly, saying “I don’t recall.” The quote “This is how I grew up” was an excerpt from our city attorney, not me, while the mayor was sitting directly next to her. The mayor chose to misinform the public and misquote me again.
In my e-mail to councilors I stated my opinion that the mayor’s and some staff’s personal animosity toward me has diminished their ability to lead and serve this council. I stand by my opinion, which has been reinforced after the column in the JI that contained more lies, misquotes and misinformation — the very thing I’ve been accused (and diagnosed) of. I’m not a "professional" but there must be a condition where one deflects facts in order to justify accusing someone else of the very behavior one is exhibiting. I think in the old days that would be called hypocrisy.
It’s also my personal opinion that while not illegal, the mayor, by appointing her husband to a taxing authority, of which she is also a member, exercised poor judgment at best, and could possibly put the city in a unwanted position.
The mayor feels my criticism is gender-biased. When I recited how a mayor is supposed to gather the facts, I was reading directly from the League of Minnesota Cities Mayor’s Handbook — not the female mayor’s handbook. I would have the same concerns and criticisms of a male mayor, possibly even in stronger words.
I want everyone who has concerns about who’s telling the truth to ask for proof. Don’t take what you have heard or read as the truth (and that includes anything I’ve said or written for that matter).
NO MORE SIDE SHOWS
This whole sideshow started with the interchange (not the Creek Lane roundabout), so when you see any council member or city administrator ask the following questions:
- Why do you support a 28-foot dirt wall, increasing to 35 feet between Highway 169 and the County Road 9 railroad tracks, with a roundabout in the middle, after the affected landowner contacted city hall, and threatened a possible lawsuit over reduced visibility of their zoned commercial land?
- Why do you support the current four northbound accesses to Highway 169 being reduced to one, with all northbound traffic directed through the Creek Lane roundabout, increasing traffic there by 700 vehicles at peak hours?
- How many current industrial taxpayers called city hall and are in favor of this plan, not the process?
- Why is the city spending $12,000 to “get the facts out there” about the misinformation they claim I’ve spread?
I want to debate issues. I’ll not be side tracked by this sideshow. I also want to thank the many people who have expressed their support for me in notes and personal conversations.
I’ll leave you with one quote from the mayor’s comments: “I don’t care about Mr. Will’s opinion of the facts.”