It was clear before Waynesboro City Council banged the gavel to end its business meeting last week that the hue and cry from the dais about Vice Mayor Jim Wood was little more than a performance.
As you’ve read, two of the members called on Wood, the outspoken MAGA who was elected to City Council last fall, to step down as vice mayor, and a third demanded that he resign his City Council seat.
Which is … great, from an optics perspective.
Wood said something abhorrent, the latest in a string of abhorrent things he’s had to say publicly on his Facebook talk shows and podcasts, but the City Council took action, sorta, kinda.
Wood, given the opportunity to speak in his defense at last week’s meeting, in the face of the latest controversy, this one over his homophobic slur of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, said nothing, and maintained that silence as a line of speakers took him to task for the Buttigieg slur, and others broadcast on talk shows and podcasts, which he has since deleted from the interwebs.
His colleagues dressed him down, city residents got their pounds of flesh, life moved on.
It all came across as what Wood himself would call “political theater.”
The three City Council members who said they wanted Wood to step down read from notes or prepared statements, then all four – Bruce Allen was absent from the meeting – went about business as usual through a light business agenda.
The odd scene that night came to a fitting conclusion when the City Council needed to go into a closed session to discuss a real estate matter, and it was Wood who read the statement prepared by the city attorney ahead of the vote for the closed session.
People who attend local government meetings on any kind of regular basis will recognize that who reads the statement in that situation is the kind of thing that is worked out ahead of time by City Council members.
That was the first sign that what went down at last week’s meeting wasn’t on the up and up.
The guy who the other City Council members pretended to want to either step down as vice mayor or resign his seat got his turn to read a perfunctory statement.
Yeah, that stuff about Wood needing to step down, needing to resign, it was all a show.
Seriously, two of the people on City Council who spoke out against Wood last week had voted for him to be the vice mayor a few weeks before, in the face of media reports that Wood had said a slew of other dumb, hateful things.
What we saw last week was an orchestrated exercise in obfuscation.
The result of which will be to only embolden Jim Wood to say or do something even more embarrassing when this situation all blows over.
Don’t say, when it happens, and it will happen, that we didn’t warn you.