On Sunday, Piedmont Mayor Jeff Wieler stepped down from his position after he drew fire for comments he made on Facebook about the transgender community and Democrats in general.
The position itself is largely symbolic. None of the council members, or the mayor, is paid. Mayor is not elected but appointed by fellow council members, and the tradition is to appoint the person with the most seniority. Mayor holds no real power but he runs public hearings and often represents the city during events and meetings around the region. None of the council members, or the mayor, is paid.
Wieler’s Facebook posts included statements like “Black Lives Matter encourages cop killing,” “Democrats are the plantation slave masters of today,” and “Transgenders are mentally ill.”
He has since apologized, saying that his comments were “inappropriate,” especially when the “country is going through a very difficult period.”
“We have a president who has coarsened the national dialogue and made many people feel insulted,” Wieler said. “No matter what you think of his policies and programs, this is a reality that I and many other Republicans are coming to acknowledge.”
“I apologize deeply for the pain I’ve caused. Going forward, I will restrict my Facebook posts to pictures of our pets and vacation pictures. Fortunately, I’ve never tweeted!”
Councilman Tim Rood said Sunday that while Wieler conducted himself professionally as mayor, it was appropriate for him to step down. He said he found some of Wieler’s comments to be “offensive and lacking in empathy and compassion.”
Councilwoman Jen Cavenaugh said she had heard from more than 100 residents upset by Wieler’s posts. “Our community has been really clear that this is not reflective of who we are and what we value,” she said. “What’s been amazing to me is how many people have spoken out for the first time.”
Although Wieler has resigned as mayor, he is still keeping his spot as a member of the City Council until his term ends in 2018.