Williamsville village deputy mayor resigns, calling out mayor in resignation letter

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WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – Williamsville’s deputy mayor has resigned, effective immediately, calling the board of trustees’ current environment “the most toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.”

Deputy Mayor Matthew Etu has served four years on the board.

“Simply, the interests and business of the Village are being sidelined by the mayor’s personal agenda and political rhetoric,” Etu said in a resignation letter dated Jan. 2. “I will state plainly that Mayor Deborah Rogers is the reason I am resigning my position. In the last 12 to 18 months, but increasingly so over the last six weeks, the Village Board’s focus has veered so far from the one I joined that I can no longer in good conscience say I identify with what it stands for.”

In the letter, Etu specifically cites a Dec. 13 regular meeting at Williamsville Village Hall, of which he said, “I watched stunned as the mayor appeared to revel in the chaos and vitriol spewed at her fellow board members.”

“There is no doubt she failed in her role as chair of the chamber. Mayor Rogers appeared to encourage, stir, and cheerlead the unruly, unmasked crowd,” he added. “After 135 minutes of verbal abuse, the mayor attempted to compel the Board into an empty gesture that supported her agenda.”

Mayor Deborah Rogers released a statement Monday, saying that she was disheartened by Etu’s decision.

“While we certainly have strong differences of opinion on some subjects, Mr. Etu was an asset to the Village Board,” she said. “His expertise and contributions to the community will be missed by myself and my fellow board members.”

Rogers added that she didn’t learn of Etu’s decision until Monday morning.

“It is unfortunate that differences of opinions have left Mr. Etu feeling like he had no other alternative but to resign,” Rogers said. “Conflicts are a part of everyday life in government and dealing with them adequately is a necessary skill.”

The mayor is currently considering candidates for Etu’s replacement through a mayoral appointment. The appointed trustee would fill the vacancy through June and an election to fill the rest of the seat’s term will be held June 21.

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