It is an unwritten rule that once the president of the United States is replaced by a duly elected new president, any former presidents allow the president-elect to do his or her job without comment, even if they strongly disagree with new policies or appointments.
This is a wise rule for the United States and serves us well. Imagine the additional chaos in Washington, D.C., if former presidents could come to a cabinet meeting and tell the new president how he should do his job, or write op-ed letters giving advice. This would add to the already divided and disabled government we often see in D.C. This rule is usually followed at all levels of government.
And so it was with great dismay that I read in The Press that two former mayors attended a Southampton Village Board meeting to publicly advise our newly elected mayor on what he should do with a certain piece of legislation [“Surf Law Is In Limbo,” October 31]. Then I was told that four former mayors were going to write a letter to The Press further admonishing, in public, the new mayor. I did not believe they would do such a thing. Then I received this week’s Press — and there was the letter [“Sound Advice,” Letters, November 14].
The four former mayors worked hard for the village and accomplished many of their goals. Of course, many of the vexing problems remain, such as Lake Agawam, empty stores and sewage treatment. I do recall at least one of the mayors making considerable personnel changes.
Each mayor had his admirers and detractors. But I never saw former mayors come out publicly at meetings and in newspapers against a new mayor’s ideas and appointments.
I hope our former mayors will remain active members of our village and share their wisdom — when asked.
This summer, there was an election in which the village voters had a clear choice between the old and the new. Resoundingly, they chose the new. We now have a much younger mayor and board. They have new ideas on how to tackle old problems. The mayor wants to bring in new faces who are more aligned with his ideas on how to solve problems, something common at all levels of government.
As with all administrations, missteps are inevitable, especially in the early, inexperienced periods. Let’s not crash the airplane before it even takes off.
The voters have spoken. Let us honor their decisions, yet agree or disagree without being disagreeable.
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One fine body…