Questions We Should All Be Asking

August 8, 2019 Off By Jay Hubbard

The video above is the full, unedited meeting of the Board of Commissioners from this past Monday, August 5.

I spent several hours this afternoon watching and writing about just the first thirty minutes of the meeting, in between fielding calls and emails from my business clients. In short, I’m nowhere near ready to share my thoughts about this meeting; there’s so much to be unpacked.

I have questions as yet unanswered about many of the topics discussed, and I will get those answers if at all possible. Late July and early August is an especially busy time of year for my family and my business, so to say I’m overwhelmed with work right now would be an understatement.

Questions we should all be asking while watching this meeting include:

Why were the wrong tax rates used in creating our new budget? Why wasn’t a copy of the letter Mayor Shaw read, from auditors in Raleigh, included in the information packets supplied to the commissioners prior to meeting? If the letter was indeed an email, as stated by the mayor, why wasn’t a copy sent to this reporter in compliance with my legal request for ALL emails relating to ANY Town of Ramseur business, to or from all town officials, elected or appointed?

Why was the library roof contract awarded to a company from Charlotte with very little background information provided? The library roof does need to be repaired. It’s gone this long in a state of disrepair, so I see no reason why waiting another month in order to properly vet the contractors should have been a deal breaker. This issue should have been tabled for another month in my opinion.

Why wasn’t Grant Cheek prepared to present his departmental needs adequately to the board before the meeting began? Why was it acceptable for Mark Groce, representing Suez, to address the board on Commissioner Cheek’s behalf, and why wasn’t he prepared for the questions Mr. Cheek asked him to answer? (hint: that’s not Mark’s fault)

Why was it unacceptable to the mayor and Commissioner Cheek for a member of Commissioner Caudle’s parks and recreation advisory committee to address the board with details about the worn out boats at the lake, but it was perfectly acceptable for others to speak on behalf of other commissioners at this and previous meetings? Why is this double standard tolerated and why do Cheek and Shaw only attempt to impose it on Commissioner Caudle?

Why was it necessary for the board to vote to accept a letter from Representative McNeill explaining that we had missed the legislative window for filing new bills this year? (hint: it wasn’t)

Why is it such a problem for Grant Cheek when a taxpayer asks a few relevant questions about the location and funding of a monument the board voted to approve after less than fifteen minutes of discussion last month?

Why doesn’t Grant Cheek use email? Is that really the case, or is he hiding something? All business is done by email today. Get with the program Mr. Cheek.

And finally, why does Mayor Shaw believe that when a citizen of this town becomes a reporter, paid or otherwise, they should “report and leave the building,” as he began saying just as the camera was turned off that night? I believe the full quote was, “He’s a reporter. He needs to report and leave the building.” This has been corroborated by several witnesses. I am still a tax paying citizen of this town Mr. Mayor, and as such, you are my employee.

I heard Mayor Shaw say to Captain Pressley, as I was leaving, “If we have another meeting like this I want him (yours truly) barred from the building.” Mayor Shaw, I am a tax paying citizen of this town, and an American. I have a right to say what’s on my mind to anyone I want to speak to after your meeting has been adjourned. UNless I’m throwing punches or furniture, or threatening violence to another person, I have every right to stand in that building and speak my mind as long as the doors are unlocked and the lights are on.

I did speak out of turn once Monday night, when I said, “You let others speak for Grant,” with regard to your hypocritical behavior toward Commissioner Caudle, but another citizen, Jim McIntosh, spoke out of turn for much longer that night. I didn’t hear you threaten to have him ejected or barred from the building. What’s the difference?

I’ll have MUCH more to say about this meeting in coming weeks as time permits. That’s not a threat; that’s a promise.

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