Is there anything more pitiful than a circus clown gone bad? Anti-government “sovereign citizen” and Ashe County Commissioner Gerald Price brought further embarrassment to himself and the county on Oct. 29, when he filed his nonsensical letter to the IRS with the Ashe County Register of Deeds office.
In addition to having had his car repossessed and his home foreclosed on, the financially inept Price apparently hasn’t been paying his federal taxes. In his bizarre letter to the acting IRS commissioner, Price, plagiarizing the Internet writings of other misguided “sovereigns,” laid out six absurd conditions that must be met before he’ll pay his taxes.
This man has no business serving in any government capacity. To read his pathetic ramblings, go to the Register of Deeds website and visit “Deeds”; Book: 0445; Page: 2267 or type in the following URL: http://www.ashencrod.org/DocumentView.asp?DocumentType=Deeds&Instrument=04452267&NextInstrument=04452271&Close=True.
While Price is surely the most incompetent clown on the three ring board of commissioners, he’s got close competition. If she were in any profession other than politics, Commissioner Judy Porter Poe would’ve lost her job over ethical breaches.
Readers will recall that in the aftermath of former county manager Dan McMillan’s forced resignation, Poe, then the chairwoman, was caught giving false information to the media when a Freedom of Information Act revealed e-mails that contradicted her public statements. Then in the immediate aftermath of former manager Pat Mitchell’s forced resignation, Poe threatened the jobs of county employees if they showed any support for Mitchell. Integrity violations and using a superior position to threaten subordinates’ legal rights are firing offenses.
The bumper stickers that have been appearing in the county have it right: “Price/Poe must go.” Commissioner Gary Roark, who regularly joins Price and Poe as a voting bloc, seems incapable of independent thinking and merely parrots their lead. I suppose that makes him something of a “clown understudy” and he’s well on his way towards meriting his own bumper sticker.
Commissioners Larry Rhodes and William Sands seem to be the only board members who don’t routinely appear in grease paint and full clown regalia. However, the fact that they apparently condone the obvious incompetence of their fellow commissioners only contributes to the board’s dysfunction and lack of good governance. Rhodes, the current chairman, should exercise some proactive leadership rather than always being reactionary.
Recently it was announced the board has hired Sam Yearick as the third county manager in two years. For the sake of the county, I sincerely wish Mr. Yearick great success and hope his four-year contract contains a favorable termination clause, for his sake. Fortunately for him, his bona fides contain something of an insurance policy.
As reported, Yearick’s professional background looks impressive, but from the board’s perspective his top qualification was obviously the fact that he’s the Chairman of the Caldwell County Republican Executive Committee. As everyone in this county knows, the forced resignations of McMillan and Mitchell weren’t about competence or job performance, they were about short-sighted political ideology trumping competence at all cost and then masquerading as something else. That’s good job security for Yearick.
Living in Ashe County under the leadership of this board reminds me of the hit 1972 song by Stealers Wheel, “Stuck in the Middle with You.” From now on, whenever you hear the line: “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right; I’m stuck in the middle with you,” rather than the intended parody of Bob Dylan, just think of the Ashe County Board of Commissioners.