The Delta City Council decided not to censure Mayor Ron Austin at its Tuesday meeting after Austin made a public apology.
The council was considering a resolution that accused the mayor of making “inappropriate” comments to various city groups and using his position to solicit funds for a private enterprise, which involved a proposed land swap between the city and a private landowner, among other abuses of his office.
Austin said in his written statement that, based on the public nature of the accusations — originally made by Delta Planning Commission Vice-chairman Jay Stooksberry — and the amount of media attention, he felt he had already been sufficiently reprimanded.
“I suggest, that if we consider the numerous articles that have been written, recent and current radio, television and news stories, public and private comments and ultimately this resolution,” Austin said, “I humbly submit that the censure of your mayor has been accomplished.”
Austin said in his statement that he felt his intentions had been “honest and sincere,” but that he recognized they had been divisive in the community. He said he’d reflected on the office he holds and that he had learned from the experience.
“After many thoughts and prayers, I have come to a fuller understanding of what it means to be the mayor of Delta,” Austin said. “I also believe that to continue this action will further enhance an unhealthy environment that has been allowed to exist in our city.”
Austin offered an apology to the community and said he hoped he could help bring the community back together during his remaining time as mayor.
Following Austin’s apology, Councilman Kevin Carlson, who put the resolution to censure Austin on the agenda, said he had hoped Austin would offer an apology, according to the Delta County Independent. Carlson and the three other council members agreed to drop the resolution censuring him in light of the apology. The council did vote to replace Austin as the city’s representative at Delta County Economic Development meetings since he had been accused of creating a “hostile environment” there.