OPINION COLUMN — Councilwoman outlines reasons for Mayor Pro Tem vote

Published 12:08 am Friday, May 17, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Dear Residents of the City of Orange,

On May 15, 2024, a KOGT Article stated that despite a “no” from me regarding reappointing Paul Burch, as Mayor Pro Tem he was reappointed.

I write to address the recent decision regarding the reappointment of Paul Burch to the Mayor Pro Tem seat during the council meeting held on Tuesday, May 14, 2024.

I want to clarify my position and provide insight into the factors influencing my decision.

I believe in transparency therefore I feel it is necessary to explain why my decision was a “no.”

Firstly, I wish to emphasize that my decision was based solely on professional considerations and not on personal relationships. I do not have personal affiliations with any members of the council; my interactions with them are strictly business-oriented.

Nepotism, whether involving family or close friends, can compromise the integrity of decision-making processes within boards and organizations. While friendship can be akin to family, it should not impede the fair and impartial execution of one’s duties.

Unfortunately, I have observed instances of nepotism and unprofessional behavior that I cannot condone. As an elected representative, I am accountable to the constituents of District 3. It is my duty to ensure transparency and fairness in governance.

Regrettably, attempts to address concerns directly with the Mayor Larry Spears Jr. and Mayor Pro Tem Paul Burch have been met with silence. Despite numerous calls, texts and emails, my attempts to communicate have been ignored.

This is unacceptable.

I have had an opportunity to address this matter with our city manager, Mike Kunst, via email, knowingly this could have him feeling uncomfortable in certain situations.

Transparency and accessibility are fundamental principles of effective governance.

It is unacceptable for elected officials to disregard communication from fellow representatives, hindering the fulfillment of our responsibilities to the community.

Such behavior undermines the trust and confidence of the constituents we serve. Therefore, in the interest of upholding the principles of fairness and accountability, I could not support the reappointment of Mr. Paul Burch to this important position.

My decision was motivated by a commitment to serving the people of this city with integrity and transparency. I urge my fellow council members to prioritize the needs of our constituents above personal allegiances. It is imperative that we conduct ourselves with professionalism and respect for the democratic process.

Residents of District 3, you elected me to represent you and if their actions prevent that then we have a huge problem. I took an oath to represent my district and they deserve to be represented.

I am asking both the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem to put their personal feelings aside so that we can do what we were elected to do. Work together for the betterment of the people.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I remain dedicated to representing the interests of District 3 and the City of Orange.

— Sincerely,

Terrie Turner Salter,

Councilwoman , District 3 Representative City of Orange

Editor’s note: The Orange Leader reached out to Mayor Pro Tem Paul Burch to provide a forum to respond. The following is his response:

“The mayor, I and the rest of the city council will continue moving the city forward.” — Burch