WINCHESTER — After six years of service, Bill Wiley has bid farewell to City Council.
“This is a bittersweet moment for me,” Wiley said at the beginning of Tuesday night’s City Council meeting in Winchester’s War Memorial Building. “People say that I’m moving up; I just think it’s another way to give back and be of service in a different way.”
The Republican representative from Winchester’s Ward 1, who was first elected to council in 2014 and is midway through his second four-year term, announced that Tuesday’s council meeting would be his last. On Nov. 3, Wiley won a special election to fill the remaining year of former Del. Chris Collins’ two-year term as the 29th District’s representative in the Virginia House of Delegates. Collins, a Republican, resigned the seat in June after being appointed a general district court judge for the commonwealth’s 26th Judicial District.
“I look forward to writing [state] policy to better our community,” Wiley said. “These unfunded [state] mandates are not good, so I will do everything in my power to negate them. ... My mission is to always do better for us.”
Prior to being elected to council in 2014, Wiley was an appointed member of Winchester’s Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals. His time on council included periods where he served as its vice president and president.
“I think that the track we’re taking is in the right direction,” Wiley said of City Council, which this year has come under fire for its handling of the Winchester Fire and Rescue Department, holding executive sessions in violation of Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act and being slow to respond to criticisms regarding then-City Manager Eden Freeman, who resigned in March after five years in Winchester. “We need to keep that in mind without getting bogged down by conspiracy theories or whatever you want to call it. We need to keep the transparency, the open-mindedness, the communication with the community.”
Wiley said he is proud of council’s accomplishments during his six-year tenure.
“I think that this board does a really good job of getting things done,” he said. “At the end of the day, we always do our service to move the city forward in the right way.”