Ending several months of slander and backstabbing, Town Council voted to not remove Ed Wells from the Historic District Review Board (HDRB).
Mr. Wells’ annoyed and acerbic reactions to the stupidity that surrounds Historic Cape Charles (oxymoron) led to complaints by citizens. Wells apparently hurt a few feelings while attempting to administer the governmental dumpster fire also known as the Historic District Guidelines.
A member of the HDRB alerted the Mirror about the effort to remove Wells weeks ago, however, most of this business eventually took place behind the closed doors of Executive Session.
For the last several months, backroom efforts have been at play attempting to tarnish and slander one of the Town’s volunteers. This effort paid off as Mr. Wells was brought before the Town Council on Thursday, his termination from the HDRB on the docket.
The recommendation of town staff was, “Move to remove Mr. Edward Wells from the Town of Cape Charles Historic District Review Board, effective immediately”
The folly began as Councilman Andrew Follmer made a motion to terminate. Follmer was immediately confronted by Councilman Paul Grossman and was asked point-blank why he made the motion. Follmer just sat there, staring, but not answering the question. Grossman continued to press, “I need to hear a reason why you made this motion?” Follmer eventually mumbled something about the executive session, but Grossman wasn’t buying it.
Instead, Grossman noted that the town has no guidelines for dealing with this situation, and instead offered a methodology used in the corporate world–that is, address the behavior, offer alternatives, but give the person the opportunity to make changes. Essentially, he pointed out that Wells was not offered due process in regards to his termination. Councilwoman Tammy Holloway eventually agreed with Grossman.
Councilman Andy Buchholz also addressed Follmer. He asked if he ever even bothered to meet with Wells in person before going after him. The answer was no. Buchholz continued that he, on the other hand always made time to meet with people, no matter how busy, and that making time for citizens was a key part of the job.
Follmer apparently had no firsthand evidence but was basing the motion on something he had heard from other citizens. Grossman countered that he actually attended HDRB meetings and had never witnessed what Wells was being accused of. Grossman inferred that he was basing his judgment on fact, not hearsay.
Mayor Dize mentioned that he had been in email contact with Mr. Wells regarding his behavior. The Mirror has requested copies of those emails from the Mayor but has not received anything. For transparency, citizens need to see how the Mayor was dealing with the Wells case.
Curiously, interim Councilwoman Ellen O’Brien initially seconded Follmer’s motion to sack Wells, but then gave a prolonged talk on how the Town needs to support volunteers such as Wells, and not attack them. She noted that the Town, “Needs to be better”.
For Follmer’s part, after being taken to task by the rest of Town Council, he somewhat cravenly voted against his very own motion.
For the time being, Wells is still a member of the board, but questions linger. This treatment of Wells appears to be similar to what happened to former Public Works Administrator Dave Fauber. Fauber’s $4 million dollar suit against the town is still pending.
The vote to not give Wells the sack was unanimous.