Thursday, March 6, 2008

Anger Management Classes for Austin, Texas Mayor?

Mayor Will Wynn speaks out Thursday for the first time since Travis County prosecutors charged him with assaulting another man.

The Austin mayor has to decide between anger management counseling or community service to remove the charge from his record.

The mayor answered tough questions at City Hall Thursday.

Wynn started by saying he was embarrassed but after he read a prepared statement, he acknowledged that sometimes his anger can be a problem.

While Wynn would not go into the case specifics from the incident in March 2006, he is apologizing.

Luke Johnson claimed Wynn became angry with him, escorted him outside the Austin City Lofts' courtyard, slapped and choked him.

"Ultimately, legally the minute I touched Mr. Johnson, I crossed the line," said Wynn.

By agreeing to the no-contest plea, Wynn will either complete 20 hours of community service or attend anger-management counseling.

It's counseling that the mayor values.

"Fact is, I've been in counseling since even before the incident. I value it. It helps me, and regardless of the technicalities of that, I suspect I'll continue counseling in different forms and formats," said Wynn.

According to witnesses who were at the loft party in March, Wynn appeared intoxicated.

He said anger, not alcohol, was the issue.

"No, I do not have a drinking problem. I believe I drink responsibly. I can get angry, and again in this case, it clearly caused a problem," said Wynn.

Below is a comment from Wynn regarding the charge: "I pled no contest to a Class C misdemeanor from 2006. I'm glad that this process has been resolved, and I of course will comply with the judge's order and have this charge dismissed."

The charge takes some people back to October, when the mayor lost his temper with a construction worker who was blocking traffic.

Wynn said the most recent bump in the road is nothing like the assault charge.

"I really think they're completely different set of circumstances. This case has troubled me. Frankly, the construction deal didn't. I mean, I apologized. I guess I apologize a lot," said Wynn.

Wynn said if at any time he felt like he could not perform his duties as mayor, he would quit.

After answering questions Thursday morning, he apologized to other city council members at the city council meeting Thursday.

Wynn will have to complete the 20 hours of community service or attend the anger management counseling before May 2.

Daybreak Counseling Service