Several points stand out from last night's Committee of the Whole meeting.
First, the unexplained absence of Councilman Jim Smith - peculiarly, during a very significant vote for the borough. Perhaps there is an acceptable, legitimate reason for it, but residents are owed an explanation. Without one, speculation will continue to run rampant.
Second, Council President Mike Beury's assertion that, despite the audience's expectations, a vote would not take place due to the lack of a full council, which made Smith's absence even more peculiar. His disdain for the sale and disregard for residents' wishes was expressed in his casual dismissal of the petition presented to council, his attitude throughout the meeting, and his vote.
Third, in a transparent stalling tactic to further delay a vote, several officials and council members attempted to muddy the waters with contrived questions and minutiae that should have been presented months ago. The Ad Hoc Committee was formed, and a consultant employed, to investigate the possibility of the sale. Their final report recommended moving forward with it. Officials requesting further answers were essentially ignoring the findings of a study the council commissioned.
Councilman Kelly Murphy finally cut through the miasma by making a motion for the sale, which Councilman Barry Ford seconded. If they hadn't, the process may have dragged on for several more months or even years, question after question, doubt after doubt, study after study.
Congratulations to all on the council who voted for the sale, as well as those on the Municipal Authority, because it demonstrated forward, progressive thinking and was the right thing to do for the future of the borough.
As Councilman Murphy stated, there are other equally difficult decisions in the offing. He reminded us that Columbia has an "us and them" mentality - Dark Ages thinking that has to stop.