August 6, 2018, Ramseur Board of Commissioners addresses the vacancy created by the death of Commissioner Joe Lineberry
A motion is made “to fill the vacant seat by nomination of applicants” by Commissioner Cheek. The Mayor raises his hand on the first vote and Commissioner Overman raises his hand to call a point of order and asks to be recognized. The mayor initially denies his request.
Commissioner Caudle asks for clarification of the motion and the mayor instructs Commissioner Cheek to “read it again” and Cheek stumbles through his motion again.
The question is called again and the votes split 2-2. Comissioner Overman points out that the mayor voted out of order and Mayor Shaw states that he “has the opportunity to vote on something like this.” which is categorically false. The mayor is not entitled to vote on this issue. He is only allowed a vote in case of a tie. The votes were tied, but regular order dictates that the mayor should wait until all the votes have been taken and a tie declared rather than assuming what the outcome will be.
Next the floor is opened for nominations: Grant Cheek nominated his neighbor, Ronald “Adam” Smith, Vickie Caudle nominated JC Parrish who was the runner up in our last election. The mayor then begins pushing for nominations to “cease, which means close”. Commissioner Overman then attempts to nominate Mr. Parrish again and they vote to close nominations.
The vote is called on the nomination of “Adam” Smith. Cheek and Cox immediately raise their hands in favor of the nomination. The mayor looks around and, seeing two votes in the affirmative doesn’t bother to follow regular order with a call for those opposed, and raises his hand as well.
This causes a mild disturbance among the board and the public in attendance. The mayor hastily calls for votes in favor of Mr. Parrish and Counsellor Bob Wilhoit is forced to intercede and explain regular order and procedure to the mayor, who prides himself on reminding citizens that he has served on the Board in one capacity or another for nearly 25 years. He should be well versed in procedure and regular order by now, should he not?
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Uncut video from Monday night’s Board meeting. The meeting lasted nearly three hours and was at times quite contentious. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and I will be breaking it down over the next few weeks.
One thing I will add now is a suggestion that someone made to me earlier today (sorry, I can’t recall who) that the lengthy planning and zoning report should be a separate meeting in order to keep the regular meetings to a reasonable length. I would agree, that it is an idea worth considering.
Knowledge is power. As citizens of the state of North Carolina, we have certain rights under the law which allow us to observe, investigate, record, and report the actions of our government. It is vitally important that every citizen know and understand these rights and how to use them.
Constitution of the United States
The Constitution of the United States of America is our nation’s founding document, and thus is considered our highest – most important – set of laws. All other laws, be they local ordinances, state statutes, or national laws, must conform with and not violate the rights and rules set forth in our Constitution. Continue reading “Know Your Rights!”
It should be pretty obvious to anyone paying attention that something is terribly wrong in Ramseur, and it only seems to get worse with each passing year. I have a few theories about how and why things got this way, but for now I’d rather focus on what’s wrong and how we go about fixing it.
Property owners in Ramseur pay the highest taxes of any municipality in Randolph County, yet our town has some of the worst infrastructure in the county and, according to some, we can’t afford to hire a town administrator to manage our affairs. There are few checks and balances in place to keep the members of our Board of Commissioners transparent and accountable to the people who elect them.
For example, each member of the Ramseur Board of Commissioners can spend up to $1,000.00 per invoice every month, with no limit on the number of invoices they generate. The only person with any oversight is our Town Clerk, who acts as the town’s chief financial officer and is employed at the pleasure of the Board.
If I’m a town commissioner I can hire anyone I want to perform any work I deem necessary in my department(s). No one but me gets to vet the people I hire, check their credentials, inspect their work, or provide any other oversight to ensure I’m not abusing the privileges of my office. Pretty much anything goes so long as I don’t burn through my budget too fast. I wish I could say there’s no evidence of that kind of behavior in our town, but I can’t. Continue reading “Checks and Balances”