Councilman’s performance in office merits failing grade

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

Being an elected official carries with it some huge responsibilities.

First and foremost, an elected official is responsible for representing the citizens living within his or her political subdivision. That includes a willingness to meet face to face with residents and hear their concerns.

Other responsibilities include educating yourself about issues you will be voting on and taking into account what is best for your constituents when you cast a vote on a particular issue. We also believe elected officials must display a willingness to explain their votes when queried by the media or their constituents.

That said, we give 6th District County Councilman Kevin O’Leary, D-Oakville, a failing grade on fulfilling the duties of his elected office.

O’Leary has been ducking both his constituents and this newspaper for months regarding his stance on a 232-unit apartment complex proposed for Tesson Ferry and Bauer roads. For example, the trustees representing thousands of neighbors who have submitted a petition against the project have not been able to meet or talk to O’Leary, neighbor Bill Hogan, who represents more than 600 residents in 16 subdivisions in Concord, told the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors last week.

“You haven’t even met with O’Leary?” board Secretary Ed Ryan asked.

“No, he denied us,” Hogan said. “We have not been able to meet with our county councilman.”

Yet O’Leary, who is not seeking re-election in November, continued to advance legislation to approve the project. But the developer asked for a last-minute withdrawal after an attorney representing the hundreds of neighbors opposed to the project, Stan Wallach, sent a letter to the council outlining possible zoning violations in the rezoning process.

A public hearing on the developer’s resubmitted plan has been set Oct. 10 by the Planning Commission. A reasonable conclusion is that county officials would like to fast track this project before O’Leary leaves office at the end of the year.

O’Leary made many, many promises to south county residents when he ran for office. It’s disappointing that he has not lived up to them.

To add insult to injury, O’Leary is being paid $20,000 annually to “serve” on the council.

It’s simple. If O’Leary doesn’t want to perform the duties of the office to which he was elected, he should resign — immediately.