Thursday night, Mount Airy Commissioner Steve Yokeley caused a bit of a surprise when he voted against a motion to allocate $428,000 for parking lot and drainage improvements at Reeves Community Center.
The move passed 4-1, but Yokeley’s opposition was unexpected given his consistent support of recreation-related projects in the city.
Well, your guess is as good as ours.
That’s because Yokeley refused to say why he was casting a dissenting vote, during the open session and afterward, when we asked the reason. He did make a point of stating during the meeting that he did not oppose the project itself, stating only, “There are other reasons.”
His response when questioned by a reporter was a rather flippant, irresponsible: “You just need to do your own investigation.”
Sorry, but that simply doesn’t cut it.
Yokeley, like the other members of the city Board of Commissioners, was elected by city residents to make decisions based on what he feels is in the best interest of the city, its residents and businesses. Sometimes that means a commissioner disagrees with his or her colleagues on certain issues.
We’re okay with that, and we believe most of the city residents would be. Vote your conscious, based upon what you truly believe is best for the city, then articulate why you believe that way. Even if someone disagrees, at least we can respect a commissioner who casts the contrary vote while giving a why.
But a commissioner casting a dissenting vote, then refusing to explain that vote is simply thumbing his nose at every resident in the city, as if he believes he’s better than others and doesn’t have to answer to the voters in Mount Airy.
Is there something wrong with the project? With the amount of money being spent? With the contractor (Sowers Construction)? Yokeley owes the residents and business owners of Mount Airy an explanation for his vote.
Otherwise, this just comes across as a commissioner who thinks he’s better than the people he answers to, or as a childish little fit thrown by a person trying to make some obscure point (which wouldn’t be a first, but we had hoped Yokeley and the rest of the commissioners were beyond that now).
Either way, the residents of Mount Airy deserve better, and should remember this when election time rolls around.