An old chestnut goes: the shorter the resignation letter, the longer the story behind it. By that reasoning Steve Bukont must have a long story. His letter states: "This memo will serve as official notice of my resignation from the Community Enhancement Committee and as Chairman of the Windover Heights Review Board effective 1/13/06."
Bukont, in his capacity as chair of the Windover Heights Review Board, had come under fire recently from some citizens.
Windover Heights residents Michael and Jerome Covel and Matthew and Susan Stich in particular have accused Bukont of having a conflict of interest, treating them disrespectfully and using inappropriate language.
Several members of the Town Council, during its Jan. 30 meeting, defended Bukont and noted that they were reluctant to accept his resignation. Without naming anyone, Councilmember Laurie Cole expressed her outrage at the way Bukont has been treated. "The barrage of insinuation and innuendo recently directed toward Mr. Bukont is reprehensible," Cole said, reading from a prepared statement. "There is always room for civil discourse concerning differing views in public affairs, but insidious, unfounded attacks on a person's integrity are beyond the pale of civil debate."
She continued by stating her fear that Bukont's treatment might discourage other citizens from taking a role on various town boards and commissions. "It would be a tremendous loss to our community if the threat of unwarranted vilification were to discourage such contributions," she said.
Several other councilmembers and Mayor Jane Seeman supported Cole.
"I think the loser here is the public," said Councilmember George Lovelace. Lovelace further cautioned that even after Bukont, the attacks may continue. "Whoever we decide to put up there next, you can believe that they are going to go through the same process," he said.
That process is what must be addressed said Councilmember Maud Robinson. "Too long have we tippy-toed around this," she said. "It is the responsibility of this body to no longer tolerate what has been going on."
The council voted unanimously to accept Bukont's resignation, along with that of Maria Clark of the Town/Business Liaison Committee. Clark cited a new work schedule which would present a conflict in schedules.
THE COUNCIL ALSO unanimously accepted a deal with White Swan Bridal, the last tenant remaining in the Wright Building. The building on Maple Ave abutting the Washington and Old Dominion Trail is to be torn down to make way for the town green. The town purchased the building and has been acting as landlord for the businesses in it.
The town will pay the shop $50,000 as part of the settlement for an early termination of the lease with White Swan. "The building will be officially vacated," said Steve Briglia, town attorney. Demolition of the structure is slated for the late winter or early spring.
The council unanimously approved a new "Official Town Map." Localities are required to revise their map every five years, and the last revision was in 2001. Vienna, however, is essentially built out, so the new map has changed little. One new street, Nicholas Circle, SE, was added, as was the area that will be the Town Green, and the other new park at the corner of Nutley and Knoll streets, NW.
In other business, the council approved:
* extending, for one more year, a contract with Motorola Wireless Communications to provide mobile radios in police vehicles for $14,136.
* purchasing a new Chevy Impala for $18,225, to replace one which was badly damaged in an accident.
* referring a proposed change to the zoning ordinance which will adjust the percentage of a scoreboard which may have advertising on it.