Special Meeting, 25 September 2019

September 25, 2019 Off By Jay Hubbard

The Board of Commissioners held a special meeting this morning at the municipal building to discuss the library roof contract and the vacant fire chief position.

I spoke to Mayor Shaw privately before the meeting and restated my request to make a public comment, which I initially sent in via email on the day the meeting was announced. Mayor Shaw said that public comments would not be allowed this morning, despite indicating that citizens are always allowed an opportunity to speak at meetings in his remarks at the candidate forum last weekend. There is a statute that allows them to deny such requests at special meetings, but I advised the mayor that in light of the blatant slander Mr. Smith has been spreading about me in recent weeks, he should reconsider.

Shaw then stated that Smith’s resignation was tendered at 9am on September 23. This is not true, and that can be proven. Smith had a text message conversation with a Ramseur citizen earlier that afternoon in which he said he was not going to resign. About an hour later he sent an email to his fellow board members and me saying “as of now” he resigned.

Mayor Shaw opened that email, sent at 5:12 p.m. on September 23, in the presence of Commissioner Caudle the following morning, September 24, and told her that he was unaware of the resignation until that moment. This morning he produced a handwritten resignation letter from Smith dated 9 a.m. September 23.

In Smith’s resignation email, as well as at least two text messages I am aware of, sent to different individuals, Smith stated that I was convicted of sexually assaulting children sometime in the late 1980s. One of the messages is about two weeks old. I can prove this in court if necessary. (The redacted section of the email above involves another individual Smith has also threatened in a similar manner. I have covered the parts of the message directed at them to protect their privacy.)

I have never seen the inside of a jail. I have never been arrested or charged with a crime greater than speeding tickets. And I have certainly never touched a child inappropriately. Please, dear readers, feel free to dig as deeply into my background as you wish. I have nothing to hide. Unlike roaches, I do not run from the light.

After Mayor Shaw decided not to let me speak, and let me know that he intended to try to backdate Smith’s resignation in order to protect the town and those who appointed Smith from liability for his actions as a commissioner, I decided to start the meeting recording early and read my comment to the camera.

This attempt at rewriting history is classic Danny Shaw. It’s long past time Ramseur had a new mayor. During the meeting the board voted to accept Smith’s resignation (not technically on the agenda of the special meeting, but we’ll cut them some slack this time) and a motion was made to place responsibility for the library and cemetery – Smith’s “departments” in David Overman’s hands until the next board is seated in December.

Grant Cheek made a huge fuss over the complexity of laying out graves to be opened, but Commissioner Caudle pointed out that Adam Smith had not once participated in designating what plot should be excavated. Most recently Mayor Shaw has been handling that duty. I used to see Mark Groce and Suez employees staking the plots, and before that I believe our public works employees took care of the job. I have also witnessed plots being sold in the municipal office by the clerk and/or the mayor, so a commissioner isn’t necessary for that task either. We need professional management in this town.

Commissioner Caudle kept hammering Cheek with questions until Cheek finally relented or realized that he was only succeeding in making himself look small and petty, which he is. Even after a $15,000 settlement, Grant Cheek still holds a grudge against David Overman. That much was painfully obvious to everyone in the room.

The video of the meeting is below. The board voted to contact local contractors about the roof and rescinded Smith’s award of the contract to Give N Go. After a brief closed session they returned and voted to contract with Jay Ledwell to act as our fire chief on a part-time basis.

My public comment is printed below the video.

Last July this board voted to seek bids for the replacement of the roof on our public library. In August, Commissioner Smith presented the board with three proposals, and the board voted to accept a bid from Given N Go Construction, a general contractor based in Rock HIll, SC.

When the contract was received the company requested a 50% deposit up front, which most people in the business world recognize as a red flag indicating that the company may be under-capitalized. It may not be a responsible bid.

Days later another bid from a local Randolph County company, Thompson Roofing Services, was “discovered” in the office. That bid had been submitted to Grant Cheek almost two months before the board voted to request bids. Anyone with a brain can put 2 and 2 together and knows why it came in with his name on it. At a special meeting soon after, this board decided to scrap all the previous bids and start over. 

On August 21. Commissioner Smith sent out a request for bids to the original three companies he chose to present at the August 5 meeting, plus Thompson roofing. The scope of work Smith sent out was so unprofessional that Thompson immediately refused to bid.

Commissioner Smith skipped the board’s regular meeting earlier this month, so the roof was not discussed. Then, on Sunday, September 15, Smith emailed two commissioners, Cheek and Cox, seeking their votes to award the contract to Give N Go Construction. The following day Smith told Give N Go that the contract was theirs, and now he’s resigned his seat and left this board holding his baggage.

This is the third time in less than twelve months that Mr. Smith has illegally taken action without a public vote of this board. Thompson’s original bid for a comparable roof was approximately $10,000 less than the Give N Go bid. 

Why weren’t more local companies contacted and asked to bid? A quick search of commercial roofing companies in this county yields a list of almost 20. Smith apparently contacted none of them, and instead solicited bids from companies in Charlotte and Winston-Salem.

General contractors usually hire subcontractors for specialized work like commercial roofing. Hiring a GC rather than a roofing specialist will always cost more because two companies are involved and all businesses exist to make a profit.

This entire process has been nothing but one unprofessional blunder after another. Yes that roof needs to be replaced, but not so much that you should be forced into a bad decision due to the incompetence and hubris of some members of this board.

I strongly suggest that you solicit bids for a new TPO roof from companies in Randolph or western Chatham counties and award the contract at your next regular meeting on October 7. 

Mayor Shaw, all this drama ultimately rests at your feet. You broke the tie. You and Mr.s Cox and Cheek appointed Adam Smith to this board, knowing almost nothing of his character. He has cost this community hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, and it may not be over yet. I have credible evidence of at least three occasions in the past few weeks when Adam Smith openly defamed and slandered me while a commissioner of this town, calling me a convicted child molester, in writing. He has also threatened to place that lie on a billboard. If a commissioner can sue this town and win $15,000 for the alleged words of his peers, imagine what a commissioner who slanders a private citizen in this manner might cost.

You should have appointed Mr. Parrish when you had the chance.

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