– On August 9, 2016 at 5pm, the Harding era officially ended in Yelm
Mayor Harding was elected to 3 terms, resigned in the middle of his 3rd term to take a City Administrator job in an Organ town less than half of Yelm’s size, without any public farewell, without one of his newspaper editorials, and without any thanks or appreciation to his staff, to his 3-time voters, or to the citizens who supported him.
Why? In typical Harding style, I suppose we’ll never hear from him.
– Yelm Community Blog’s Aug. 9, 2016 summary of the carnage former Mayor Ron Harding left:
* Harding never invested in “hearing” his staff and citizens [causing staff to unionize.].
* He leaves unfilled vacancies in all city depts. that are woefully understaffed.
* No City Administrator for a year.
* The Public Works Dept. is in dire need of upgrades.
* The coming burden to taxpayers for sewage system refurbishments are monumental.
* Yelm’s water rates are at historic highs and likely to rise yet again.
* Public Safety requires more police officers on the payroll to be on patrol, now.
* Grow, grow, grow policies without up-keep of the infra-structure.
These issues still at the forefront facing Yelm today, except we have a City Administrator, no Finance Director!
– Many grand things have occurred that never would have happened if Harding were Mayor:
* Yelm Police finally received authority for a FB page to communicate with constituents.
* Yelm Police has a Twitter page.
* City of Yelm government has a Facebook page.
* Public Chats with the Chief (Police Chief Stancil).
* Public Chats with the Mayor.
* City officials met with the Yelm Business Assn., not permitted under Harding.
* Yelm held a UFO Fest.
* Yelm co-hosted a Jazz Fest.
* First public Town Hall meeting conducted by city on over 12 years.
* City-sponsored Economic Summits.
And many more.
– However, social media is abuzz that last night’ Council session noted an ominous sign
“During the Mayor’s report at the City Council meeting tonight [Aug. 8], he made a statement along the lines that all questions and communications to the city staff should go through him, since he does run the city. I have reservations about such a statement and it gives me more reason to suggest that the Water and Sewer department be no longer part of city staff, but their own department that reports directly to the City Council,” quoting Brian Hess, and acknowledged by others.
– Editor’s note:
There have been several disturbing developments from Interim Mayor Foster that demonstrate this city’s leader is mirroring a return to Harding’s tactics. At last week’s council session, Councilor Joe DePinto had to call on Interim Mayor Foster and the council to follow protocols and not bring political issues into the council meetings. Foster’s complicit behavior with a hot mic where he did not stop one councilor’s negative comments about another councilor was very disturbing, reported here November 29, 2016. Stay tuned!