Who Voted To Approve This Contract?

September 20, 2019 Off By Jay Hubbard

On Friday afternoon, September 20, after nearly a week of no emails from anyone at the Ramseur municipal office, I received a flood of messages, including the ones you’ll find below.

The first one is from Adam Smith to the town clerk and attorney Wilhoit, asking permission to award the library roof contract to Give N Go Construction, a company from Charlotte where Smith used to live.  Smith has never offered a convincing explanation of how they ended up bidding on this project.

The second email is a message Smith sent to Give N Go the following day, awarding them the contract.

The third email, below, was sent from Jerry Hayes at Give N Go, thanking Smith for awarding them the contract.

 

No one voted to award this nearly $40,000 contract to anyone.

Adam Smith didn’t show up for the last regular board meeting. The mayor stated that he was out of state, but offered no further explanation. The library roof was not discussed that night, but now we have this string of emails dating from Sunday through Tuesday of this week that make it look like Adam Smith somehow obtained permission to take this action without holding a public meeting.

When I saw those emails I called Commissioner Caudle and asked her what she knew. Her response was shock. She was obviously as in the dark as I was about this business. She offered to call Commissioner Cheek and ask him what he knew.

When she called me back a few minutes later she said that Grant Cheek claimed to know nothing about this and that he told her that he would send out an email stating that the board had not voted to approve Smith’s action. I asked Mrs. Caudle to forward that email to me as soon as see got it, but so far it has not arrived. Based on past experience I can say with certainty that she has not yet received it.

Smith’s initial email of September 15 was sent only to the town clerk’s account – a position which is technically empty at the moment – and attorney Wilhoit. He did not include anyone on the Board of Commissioners or the mayor. He did include the mayor in his email of September 16, in which he awarded the contract to Give N Go. I do not recall receiving any emails from Mayor Shaw this week.

If Commissioner Caudle didn’t know about this and Commissioner Cheek didn’t know, who approved it and how? Mrs. Caudle stated on the phone that she had seen Commissioner Overman earlier today, September 20, at her business, and said she was certain that if he had known about it he would have mentioned it to her. I called Mr. Overman just now, and he confirmed that he was not involved in this decision.

Let’s assume that Grant Cheek was being truthful when he told Commissioner Caudle he knew nothing of this contract being awarded. I did not contact Mr. Cox because it only takes three commissioners, a simple majority, to take action on any issue.  Two commissioners and the mayor are not a quorum, and even Mayor Shaw isn’t bold or stupid enough to try that. All of this means that the decision was made by Adam Smith alone, without a quorum, outside an official meeting, on a contract of nearly forty thousand of your tax dollars.

There will be a candidate forum tomorrow morning, Saturday, September 21, in the cafeteria of Ramseur Elementary School, from 9 a.m. to noon. If you care about this town you need to show up and see for it with your own eyes. To my knowledge Adam Smith has never confirmed whether he plans to participate or not. The man who brought him into this, his next door neighbor, Grant Cheek, has said he will not attend. I hope he’ll change his mind. Mayor Shaw, the man who cast the final vote to appoint Adam Smith to our Board of Commissioners, has agreed to participate. I look forward to seeing you all there.

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