Waynesboro Mayor: Vice Mayor's Comments 'Unacceptable'
Updated: Feb 27
Photo Credit: City of Waynesboro
Written by: Sam Orlando
Waynesboro, VA: Mayor Lana Williams has condemned Vice Mayor Jim Wood's recent comments, which included a homophobic slur during a Facebook Live show. Speaking about the recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, Wood referred to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg using a derogatory term, which he made on a video posted Feb. 15.
“As the Mayor of Council and a leader in our community, I cannot condone Mr. Wood’s comments in the podcast," Williams said in a statement. "Although Mr. Wood was speaking as a private citizen, his comments have a negative impact on the City, its residents, and Council. Mr. Wood’s comments do not reflect the City or City Council. Nor do his comments reflect the policy of the City and Council to respect and be respectful of everyone and to treat everyone with compassion and dignity."
Wood has since removed the video, but Mayor Williams has said the matter is being discussed among council members and that they are working together to address the situation. She plans to speak publicly about the issue at the upcoming council meeting on Monday, February 27.
"As a representative of the people of Waynesboro, he should not be making comments that are insulting and demeaning to our residents," Williams said. "I have heard from many of those residents, and they are not happy. I understand Mr. Wood’s 1st Amendment rights, but we as members of Council must hold ourselves to a heightened standard."
Wood has claimed that he was not referring to Buttigieg's sexual orientation, but was simply making a "play on his name only." However, Mayor Williams has emphasized that regardless of his intention, the language he used was still a slur and not acceptable in any context.
The Mayor's statement also highlighted that the City of Waynesboro has a policy of respect and compassion towards all individuals, regardless of their background or beliefs. Williams called on all council members to hold themselves to this standard and work towards creating a welcoming and inclusive community for all.