Community Development Director Jackie Wilde delivered a visibly emotional speech at Tuesday’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting after announcing having tendered her resignation to City Manager Janette Bower earlier in the day.
“It’s been a pleasure to work for the citizens of Seward for the past eleven years,” said Wilde, “but I personally cannot keep working on plans and policies with the undue stress that recent events have caused me and my family.”
Though she did not go on to disclose the nature of the events in question, Wilde did implore the commission to retain a focus on ethics, transparency and service to the community.
“The planning process exists to serve the public interest,” she said. “While the public interest is a question of continuous debate, both in its general principles and in its case-by-case occasions and applications, it requires a consistently held view of policies and actions that best serve the entire community. Planning issues commonly involve a conflict of values, and often there are large private interests at stake. These highlight the necessity of the highest standards in fairness and honesty among all of its participants, whether it be city staff, citizens or commissioners. Those who practice planning need to adhere to a special set of ethical requirements, and I have followed those throughout my professionalism for the city and in my life. I would recommend that the commission use orientations and goal-setting sessions to encourage elected officials to understand how their conduct and commitment to public service values contribute to an ethical government. Governments won’t be able to fulfill the roles if its citizens don’t trust government employees to make decisions to best serve the interest of the community as a whole. Even the appearance of a questionable behavior can hurt the public trust.”
As she concluded, Wilde thanked all the council members, commissioners, city administration and citizens she had worked with throughout her eleven-year tenure in Community Development.
“Please note that this has been a long and difficult decision for me, but I feel that this is the best decision,” she said.
Wilde is expected to speak before the City Council at their regular meeting this Monday, September 13 at 7 p.m., streamable live at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWzsXcDwdykIHKGqvYS_UNQ. The public may sign up to comment, either via phone or in person, by contacting City Clerk Brenda Ballou by email at email@example.com or by phone at (907) 224-4046.