Doing the right thing.

A little over two months ago I told you that I would not be running for a seat on the Ramseur Board of Commissioners this year.  When I wrote that statement I meant it, but someone has to step up and start asking the hard questions, demanding straight answers, and pumping the brakes when commissioners want to do things that are ineffective, inefficient, or downright unethical, and I don’t see anyone doing that.

You’re going to hear a lot of garbage over the next few months, coming from people who either want to replace our mayor and take us backward ten to twenty years. You’re also likely to hear a bunch of nonsense from those who want to maintain the status quo because that somehow benefits them. Rest assured all of it will be just that, garbage.

We’ve watched members of this board spend most of the last few years wasting money – our money – on high-priced consultants and professional services, but we’re still several YEARS behind on budget audits, and not just one audit, several. I think the correct number is three fiscal years, but getting information out of that office is harder than pulling teeth these days, so don’t quote me on that detail.

Unfinished budget audits mean less grant money available for our town, and at this point there’s no excuse for being so far behind. We can’t even fully implement the “Southern” accounting software, which this board began talking about soon after taking office in 2020, because we can’t get an accurate accounting of our finances! This is beyond unacceptable.

No one on the board now wants to discuss moving toward a more permanent and sustainable way of managing our town and its enterprises. I want to have that conversation, and I think many of you do as well. I want to talk about our options for sustaining and growing our water and sewer infrastructure, but I’m not convinced that the town of Ramseur needs to go it alone in that regard, nor do I believe that I have all the answers.

I want to have those discussions and many others that this board seems unwilling or unable to entertain. It’s hard to have adult conversations with people who want to point fingers or hide behind false identities to play games on the Internet, but these discussions need to happen or some of those decisions will be made for us by people who don’t live here.

There’s only one thing for me to do, and that’s to put my name on a ballot. Today I am asking you to give me the opportunity to help fix this. How? By being the kind of commissioner who refuses to jump off cliffs until I know where I’m going to land. Decisions with far-reaching consequences should not get pushed through with less than five minutes of discussion or zero debate.

I believe it’s better to get caught doing the right thing than to go along to get along. That means asking hard questions and demanding good answers before any vote is taken or insisting that issues be tabled for more study and doing your homework. It means voting against the majority, even if you have to stand alone when you know that there are better options or more correct ways of getting things done.

I’m not a good campaigner, and I’m certainly not a politician. I tell people what I really think instead of what they want to hear, and I’ve never been one to sugarcoat the truth. I may even speak in an abrasive manner at times, but I will always tell you what I believe is the truth, and if new information changes my opinion I’m not afraid of being wrong.

About nine years ago I bought a house in the middle of Ramseur, and I will probably live there until the day I die. I have a vested interest in the success of this municipality, and everything to lose if it doesn’t succeed. I would much rather be at home making art, or digging in my garden, or at band practice making music, but since I had a hand in creating this mess four years ago, I feel that I owe you – my neighbors – the opportunity to either accept what I have to offer or tell me to go home.

We often hear candidates for public office talk about their accomplishments in the business world, the number of employees they’ve directed, or the big budgets they’ve managed, and while those people often do have something to offer, I know how to make do with less. I raised two kids and started a business that I’ve been running now for almost thirteen years, on one modest income, so yes, I know a little something about operating on a shoestring, stretching dollars, and getting creative in order to survive.

In Ramseur, where all we ever hear about is how we can’t afford this or that solution, knowing how to make do with less seems like a good skill to bring to the table. So yes, this year I am a candidate for a seat on the board of commissioners because it seems like the right thing to do.