September 21, 2013
The Ashe County circus continued at the Sept. 16, board of commissioners’ meeting which featured the clown act where trained seals balance balls on their noses, flap their flippers and bark at the audience.
Rather than taking the opportunity to fully explain their forced resignation of the second county manager in two years and to thoroughly dispel the rumors that Jonathan Jordan has been pre-selected to fill the vacant position, the board simply barked at, and further insulted, the county’s voters.
Starring in the show was Commissioner Poe who, through innuendo and attempted character-assassination, tried to discredit the county’s former manager, Dr. Pat Mitchell, by insinuating she had improperly managed her time and expenses while carrying out her official duties. Dr. Mitchell responded in an e-mail sent to the county’s two newspapers that rebutted each of the obviously trumped-up allegations and made the commissioners look even more foolish and incompetent than they already do.
It’s important to note the commissioners weren’t saying this was the reason they forced Mitchell to resign. No, this was just some incredibly lame attempt to obfuscate their actions and make it appear there was some actual justification. If the commissioners were competent and had reason to believe Mitchell had been unethical then what should’ve first happened, prior to her forced resignation, is an investigation to actually gather the facts.
But “facts” are things the commissioners don’t seem to understand. For example, at the Sept. 16, meeting the board singled out the Jefferson Post, fellow letter to the editor writer Remi Wingo and me as not being accurate with our facts. Specifically, the commissioners seemed particularly obsessed with refuting claims they’d had “verbal” communication with Jordan about the open position; but none of us claimed there was any verbal communication with Jordan.
Commissioner William Sands is on record as saying earlier in the month all the commissioners got an e-mail from an unidentified commissioner asking that Jordan be considered. At the Sept. 16, meeting, Commissioner Gerald Price went further by saying he’d been contacted by Jordan through mail and voicemail. The board has obviously discussed it among themselves, but I digress. The “fact” that most matters still remains; the commissioners have not given an explanation to their employers, the voters, as to why they forced two competent county managers to resign. And they won’t because we all know they can’t justify their actions.
With our high unemployment rate and other challenges, what slate of highly qualified professionals will seek employment as our county manager/economic developer with this history and the knowledge they’ll have to serve at the pleasure of an incompetent board? What large businesses will consider coming to Ashe County amidst this dysfunction?
Yes, the wheels have completely come off the clown car and if Commissioner Price is responsible for making the car payments, it too is likely to be repossessed.