Letter To The Editor:

Over the past few years, Wood River City Council meetings have been contentious. However, the last two meetings have devolved with threats to the council and comments, some of which are from non-Wood River residents, that are nothing more than personal smear attacks intended to tarnish council members including negative comments about their immediate family members. I find this behavior deeply offensive and I am extremely disappointed that the Mayor has failed to enforce decorum and gaveled such comments out of order.

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I have been informed that a former City Council candidate that was recently defeated in the April election has been organizing and promoting these comments on Facebook amongst her supporters. The comments made by some individuals are false and intended to mislead and smear the reputation of myself and other council members. I have known the Mayor for 40 years. He personally endorsed, promoted and campaigned with this woman. That is why I find it difficult to believe that he has not informed her and the others of the facts.

At the July 3rd meeting, I and other members of the council were labeled as misogynists, claiming that comments from the June 5th meeting were intended to entrap the City Attorney and caused her to resign. This is false. Members of this council asked for a change in the City Attorney in early May and she agreed to step down, with the understanding she would retain her position to represent the city in real estate matters.

Comments were also made that I and other members of the council didn’t want women to volunteer for committees. This is false. I had no prior knowledge that two of the women originally proposed for appointment to the Planning Commission had withdrawn their names for consideration at the June 19th meeting. Following the vote, I personally contacted the employee spouse of one of the women and expressed my disappointment that she had withdrawn her name from nomination and asked that she consider seeking an appointment with a city committee in the future. I did speak with the Mayor about the other woman’s conflict of interest which would prohibit me from voting for her appointment to the Planning Commission. I offered my support for her nomination to the Planning Commission if she would resign her board membership with a downtown not-for-profit organization that had similar duties and responsibilities. As an alternative, I offered to support her for nomination to a different committee that did not create a conflict of interest.

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The claim that my lawsuit regarding use of the 1% Sales Tax for the rec center was a “nuisance lawsuit” is also false. I filed this lawsuit in March 2022, before I considered running for office. The Mayor didn’t believe that my lawsuit was a nuisance lawsuit when he asked me, along with several other people, to file suit at a January 2022 Town Hall meeting. Contrary to the numerous statements of economic disaster for the city to defend itself against my lawsuit, the Mayor and the members of the last City Council were fully aware that it was funded by the city’s liability insurance.

I want to assure all Wood River residents that I will continue to honor my commitment to focus on infrastructure, growth and transparency. I will continue to listen and consider all points of view, even from those who disagree with me.

Bill Dettmers

City Council Member, Wood River

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