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It doesn’t matter what side of the dais you’re on, one thing remains true—enough Sunset Beach voters supported Rich Cerrato to secure him a seat as the town mayor.
And clearly, it’s going to be an interesting term.
During Cerrato’s first meeting as mayor, he was gaveled by Mayor Pro Tem Lou De Vita after Cerrato stepped down from the dais to read a written statement to the audience. When Cerrato exceeded the three-minute limit given for public comment, De Vita informed him time was up. When Cerrato continued to read, he was cut off and the meeting was adjourned.
It was a sad moment for this new town council because it immediately became clear it was going to be difficult for this group of people to work well together.
But who is to blame?
We say, both sides, but Cerrato must carry the brunt of the burden.
The new mayor is known for being abrasive and outspoken. He has burned more than a few bridges in Sunset Beach, although luckily for the Old Bridge Society, not literally.
Engaging in such brash and controversial manners, Cerrato had to know coming into office was going to be a challenge. How did he expect to effectively work with the very people on council and at town hall he had repeatedly raked over the coals—both verbally at meetings and written in his “Taxpayers’ Digest?”
Cerrato created a wobbly foundation months before he was ready to stand as the town’s mayor. For that, he only has himself to blame. He has a long road ahead before he will ease the bruising he has already caused.
Unfortunately for the people of Sunset Beach, it seems Cerrato isn’t yet ready to play nice or by the rules.
And, let us remind you, Cerrato campaigned on promises of transparent government. We have to say his actions so far have us very concerned that he’s more interested in being a white knight than a team player.
Effective town government just doesn’t work that way.
Taxpayers need champions, but they need that to be in the form of a unified council that listens to the public’s needs and wants—not those who grandstand that they know what’s best for a community as diverse as Sunset Beach.
At the same time, the council must proceed carefully with the glasses it wears each time it looks at Cerrato’s actions.
While caution is urged, the council shouldn’t view every step he takes through past vision. Give him a chance and trust that the voters who put him in office are prepared to hold him to the promises he has made. But at the same time, everyone in the community should be diligent in making sure all elected officials and the people that are getting paid to work at town hall, are doing the jobs they’ve been given as outlined by law, ordinance and descriptions.
It’s one thing to help someone who needs it, it’s another to overstep authority altogether.
We hate to see things in Sunset Beach off to such a bumpy start.
In the feature story we wrote about Cerrato a few weeks ago, he was quoted as saying, “I listen. I learn.”
We hope he has been listening and has learned from some of his mistakes so far in office.
Voters, hold him and everyone associated with town hall accountable. You put them there; remind them you can vote them out.