BUCKHANNON – On Thursday, Buckhannon became the first municipality in the Mountain State to embrace a resolution calling for the revival of civil discourse on the local governmental level.
Mayor David McCauley said Resolution 2018-24 is a product of an original resolution adopted by the West Virginia Municipal League, which held its quarterly meeting in Buckhannon Oct. 25-26. During their conference, the WVML ratified the first league-wide version of the civility resolution here.
McCauley said the group discussed what could be done to restore mutual respect between governmental officials and West Virginia residents on the local level, given the tumultuous, deeply divisive national political conversation.
The city’s civility resolution – much of which is directly lifted from the Municipal League’s model resolution – calls for “listening to each other and listening across differences for understanding,” two actions critical to building respect and strengthening a sense of community.
The resolution defines civil discourse as “the free and respectful exchange of different ideas in a way that affirms all persons, while hearing their perspectives” – and encourages local governmental officials to disavow “heated rhetoric and a dramatic shift away from collaboration leaves us unable to solve the challenges confronting our [communities].”
Restoring civility ultimately rebuilds trust and results in productive discussions that are more likely to lead to lasting solutions to problems plaguing an area.
“Sharing our personal hopes, dreams, fears and the definition of what being American means to us, can help us tell [the] story of what unites us over what divides us, and can unite us around shared values during this time when our country needs it,” the resolution reads.
McCauley said the W.Va. Municipal League is encouraging each of its 231 members to adopt a similar resolution.
“I believe … if we act upon this tonight … Buckhannon would be the very first city to actually adopt the Municipal League’s resolution,” McCauley said.
Councilman CJ Rylands made a motion to approve the resolution, which was seconded by councilwoman Mary Albaugh prior to passing unanimously.