There is nothing like an elected official baiting another elected official in an open meeting. Strategically the goal is to get the official being baited to speak about the issue, either there or in the future. This is known as taking the temperature of the room and, if it is hot, deflecting it away.

That’s exactly what Lake Placid Councilwoman Debra Worley did recently when she said seven words, “I’m glad the Sheriff’s Office is here,“ right there in an open meeting while discussing the Lake Placid Police Department. The conversation then moved into relevance of and the need for a police department in Lake Placid. The sheriff being there on another matter, in my view, was set up.

Those who know our sheriff will tell you he is way too intelligent to jump in that boiling pot, especially in that meeting. To date I don’t believe the sheriff has commented on any of it. So, this happiness for Worley may be just in her mind for now.

Worley did not stop there; she also sent a volley over to Town Administrator Phil Williams indicating that he had brought up the matter of doing away with the Lake Placid Police Department a couple of times. Now we’ve got ourselves a party. Williams says he has never suggested that, however Worley has brought the issue up several times during meetings as town administrator and councilwoman.

Worley also mentioned that Lake June Pointe, Oak Island and Water’s Edge are the most populated and they tend to take care of themselves. The HOAs are in place in those neighbor hoods to take care of problems. Did we all miss something here? HOAs are doing police work in Lake Placid?

Worley then described the core of Lake Placid’s issues is the core of downtown and the U.S. 27 corridors.

As we all know there is this thing called budget and that budget goes through the wringer to get passed and LPPD Chief James Fansler pointed that fact out to the newspaper when we spoke with him.

Now Worley is asking for a study without any clue to how much taxpayer money it would cost and suggested the Sheriff’s Office be involved. More money? Who knows?

Structure for towns and cities across this land is important. Citizens like going to bed knowing that their local police department has their safety as families sleep. They like knowing if there is an issue it will be handled rapidly and within the boundaries of the law. They like personally knowing the folks that risk their lives for their town and would gladly help those risk-takers in a heartbeat if need be.

Today it looks and feels like there is a history behind this and the councilwoman is using both the office she holds and less than positive tactics to even a score. It’s nothing new; it happens all the time in big city politics where the constituents matter less than the goal. The only thing is this is not the big city and the citizens of Lake Placid deserve better.

Those five words could be the beginning of a battle that frankly does not need to be fought. Councilwoman Worley, I will give you seven words uttered by Thomas Jackson Lance in the late ‘70s, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Tim Smolarick is president and group publisher of of D-R Media, as well as publisher of the Highlands News-Sun and Highlands Sun. Contact him via email at


Load comments