In Monday’s county commission meeting, Commissioner and Chairman Rob Williamson put the other commissioners in a difficult position when he removed the signs from the causeway in the middle of the night Thursday. Quite clearly he undermined the board as expressed by both Lane Lynchard and Sam Parker. He failed to defend county staff for following through with what the board asked of them. He never apologized nor did he fully admit to the severity of what he had done. He villainized the board in an attempt to come out a hero amid the illegalities of his actions.
Monday Mr. Williamson lied when he said he would not put out any further information or encourage emails, because the very next day, Mr. Williamson took to his favorite avenue of communication, Facebook, to further spread his temper tantrum. He has to use deflection when he has done something wrong – or in this case illegal. He is deflecting his illegal action and turning the attention to what he says is the “will of the people” and the landmark sign. He is accusing the other commissioners of ignoring the will of the people.
In Tuesday’s Facebook post, he would have everyone believe that Navarre Press is agenda-based and churning out fake news. Navarre Press is neither biased nor fake. Rob Williamson readily throws around the buzz words “Fake-News” when referring to Navarre Press because we report the truth and he obviously doesn’t like it when it is aimed at him. Our only “agenda” is to report the truth and hold our elected officials accountable. But – truth sounds like hate to those who hate the truth
In our 17 year history we have always had the mutual respect of our county commissioners. They may not always like what they read but they know we are fair. We have never had an elected official refuse to talk to us. Rob Williamson will not take our calls. He actually told one of our editors that if we ever needed a response or quote from him, to just type, “Mr. Williamson respectfully declined to answer.” The editorial we wrote about this interchange won first place in a statewide editorial contest.
Rob Williamson has never emailed, messaged, nor provided us or anyone else that we know of an example of what he considers to be incorrect. We keep our opinions and our reader’s opinions on our editorial pages where they belong. Rob Williamson has had an open invitation – just like any other citizen to respond to letters to the editor, editorials or news stories. He never has.
Rob Williamson made a huge error in judgement and instead of apologizing and moving on, he is doubling down or even tripling down. In the process, he has thrown his fellow county commissioners and county staff under the bus.
Rob Williamson has singled us out and tagged the other news outlets because they don’t look past the surface. We do. And we follow the “Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.”
He told a Navarre Press reporter that he was irritated with us because we had the nerve to second guess press releases and him. We are not a public relations company. We are a news organization and we take our job seriously. We wish the others did the same.
Bottom line – we take great offense to Rob Williamson’s comments and our final response would be, “Prove it.”
Instead of apologizing and moving forward, he is continuing the drama. A protest is now scheduled for Friday.
We encourage each of the commissioners to think carefully about the future of the board and the message that every decision they make sends to our community. Instead of heeding their words Monday, Rob Williamson has only become more emboldened. We are optimistic that at Thursday’s meeting, the other commissioners will do what they know is right that they will be emboldened to make the decision that is best for the board and for the county. And, while you’re at it – press charges.