They Just Don’t Get It

A few weeks ago I published an article laying out evidence that leads me to believe Commissioner* Adam Smith has intentionally attempted to evade public record laws by using multiple email accounts for official Town of Ramseur business.

On the same day, March 4th, 2019, Commissioner* Smith skipped a scheduled board meeting and told several people that he was going to resign from the Board of Commissioners, after losing his temper and cussing citizen Denise Lowe like a dog when she tried to have a conversation with him in our municipal office. Smith’s outburst was witnessed by Commissioner Overman, who was in the office to pay his water bill, our water billing clerk Grant Cheek, and Town Clerk Bobbie Hatley. You can hear Denise Lowe’s comments to the board later that night in the sound clip below. Continue reading “They Just Don’t Get It”

How Municipal Government In North Carolina Should Work

I recently purchased the 2014 edition of County and Municipal Government in North Carolina, edited by Frayda Bluestein and published by the UNC School of Government. It’s a large, 807 page textbook with no index or glossary. In other words, it’s all useful information and well worth the $125 price tag for anyone interested in local government in our state. In my opinion it’s a must read for anyone holding or planning to run for a seat on a county or municipal board in North Carolina.

Before going any further I need to make certain that readers understand a few terms. In North Carolina all municipalities are organized as cities, towns, or villages, but in the eyes of the state these terms all mean the same thing. Likewise, the governing board of any town in North Carolina can be called a city council, a board of commissioners, or a board of aldermen, all refer to the same thing: a body of elected officials who meet to set policy for a city. When I refer to municipal councils or boards below, readers should understand that those terms are interchangeable. Continue reading “How Municipal Government In North Carolina Should Work”

Who’s Really Running Ramseur’s Water & Sewer Department?

This morning I received a copy of an email, sent to Mayor Shaw from Rodney Darr and inspector with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ, formerly DENR), regarding an inspection he recently performed at our water treatment plant and the raw water intake at Rameur Lake. You can see the entire email by clicking here.

I’ve reproduced a partial image of the email below. Please take a close look at who received that message. Notice anyone missing? Commissioner Grant B. Cheek, in charge of our water and sewer systems, did not receive a copy of this inspection summary.

It’s not like Mr. Cheek is a new commissioner, unknown to the state inspectors; he’s been in office for almost four years, so where is Grant Cheek? Why was this message sent to the mayor and two Suez employees, but not the commissioner in charge of the water department?

There were a couple of things the inspector, Mr. Darr, felt worthy of pointing out in his findings. The first has to do with an ongoing concern for maintenance at the plant. Continue reading “Who’s Really Running Ramseur’s Water & Sewer Department?”

Phoneman Vs. The Witch Hunters

The Town of Ramseur has been pursuing a zoning violation case against Tim Matthews for several months now. Tim owns several properties downtown, but he is probably best known for his Phoneman business. Mr. Matthews has owned the building in question for over six years.

Shortly after purchasing the property, located at the corner of Main and Carter Streets downtown, Mr. Matthews hired local artist Reggie Robbins to paint a large silhouette on the side of his building.  Since then Tim has added several other signs and paintings to the wall. Over the years Tim Matthews also purchased several sign permits from the Town of Ramseur in order to comply with local laws and ordinances. In short, Tim Matthews has jumped through every hoop placed in front of him by our local government, every time he’s been asked to do so. Continue reading “Phoneman Vs. The Witch Hunters”