Take A Message

June 17, 2019 Off By Jay Hubbard

At the June 3rd Board of Commissioners meeting there was a discussion regarding plans for the upcoming “Day on Main Street” festival, scheduled this year for Saturday, October 19th. The discussion takes place at just over forty-six minutes into the meeting video below.

During that discussion Commissioner Grant Cheek once again took every opportunity to throw shade at Commissioner Caudle, accusing her of intentionally keeping the rest of the board in the dark regarding planning for this year’s festival. At one point Mr. Cheek stated that people have been calling the municipal office with questions about the festival for which he has no answers.

Then Commissioner Cheek brought up the Recreation Advisory Council, accusing Mrs. Caudle of intentionally withholding information. The Recreation Advisory Council was established by a resolution passed by the Board of Commissioners last year, however, it is my understanding that no members were seated until earlier this spring. The Advisory Council is supposed to meet quarterly and reports to the full Board of Commissioners. According to the resolution their next meeting should happen in July.

Commissioner Cheek doesn’t seem to understand the difference between the Advisory Council, which functions in a manner similar to the Planning and Zoning Board, and volunteer subcommittees that report to the Advisory Council. The subcommittees help plan and implement activities such as our summer concert series, the annual “Day on Main Street” festival, and many other programs for seniors and kids. 

Mr. Cheek should know all of this since he is a Commissioner and was present on the night the resolution was passed, whether he voted for it or not. Commissioner Cheek also doesn’t seem to understand the concept of telling callers and visitors to the municipal office that he doesn’t personally have the answers to their questions.

Since the “Day on Main Street” festival and other recreational programs are not part of his assigned departments, the proper way for Mr. Cheek to handle such situations would be to either write down the question and forward it and the person’s contact information to the appropriate commissioner, or take down their contact information and forward that. No reasonable person expects a receptionist to have all the answers.

Taking a message is a very basic task that goes on in professional offices around the world every day, but Commissioner Cheek is either unwilling or unable to manage that simple task.

Commissioner Cheek has spent much of the last few years telling other members of the board to stay out of “his” departments. Is it any surprise that some of his peers feel no obligation to keep him informed of every detail of their work prior to the regular monthly board meetings?

Most people visiting or calling our municipal office don’t understand the outdated way the Town of Ramseur is operated – having one and only one commissioner assigned responsibility for specific departments, and no administrator charged with running things day to day.

During business hours Mr. Cheek is not an elected official, he’s simply the water billing clerk, but that’s not who people see when they visit nor is it who they hear when he answers the telephone.

Commissioner Caudle should be coordinating with the Town Clerk to get information about upcoming events posted to the town website and other places where people can find that information, and from all indications that’s exactly what she does. Commissioner Caudle announces upcoming meetings of the various volunteer committees she oversees at each monthly board meeting and the public is always invited to attend.

Commissioner Cheek could attend any of those meetings, including those of the “Day on Main Street” festival committee. In fact it’s my understanding that he did attend their first meeting and even helped schedule the second, but failed to show up.

Apparently Mr. Cheek is very interested when he has an audience and a perceived opportunity to throw Mrs. Caudle under a bus, but once he leaves the office or the meeting room these subjects never seem to cross his mind.

In his capacity as our water billing clerk, from 8:30 to 5:30 each day Commissioner Cheek is not supposed to do any “commissioner” work, but I’ve seen emails from time to time that would lead a reasonable person to believe that rule is not being strictly enforced. How could it as long as Commissioner Cheek remains his boss’s boss?

(Apologies for not making the shorter video clips like I did in the past, but I have a business to run and that stuff takes more time than I have to give this time of year.)