Fiasco Before The Fourth
There's no need to wait for fireworks; there were plenty on display at the board meeting. Before the meeting started, Coral Rogers and Kent Crider were having their meeting before the meeting. Noticeably absent were Mayor Winston and Alderman Dukes. They make decisions to make cuts but then don't man up and stand behind th;ir closed doorddecision. In true form, Danny Davis got up and faked concern saying he care about this city and he could retire.DDavis also said that there was no need to cut his department because the rare increase sustains his department. Davis is not giving up any man hours or privileges; his department will still have the use of two trucks and they are cutting the hours of two seasonal workers. Again, the only department that's getting cut is the police department. Davis ran out, stomping like a baby because the question about the use of the city truck was raised. McGraw ran after him and gave him his yearly sugar tit and he came back in and behave like an adult. Every term, Davis behavedjoke a spoiled baby because he know one alderman will run after him and beg him.tiff stay. We have officers that are in jeopardy of losing their jobs, the city is in danger of losing police protection and we have this jerk throwing a temper tantrum. If he think so little of this city, then Davis need to quit again.
Power hungry Alderwoman at Large, Cora Rogers, rudely chaired the meeting. Everyone gave up either insurance or salary with the exception of Mayor Ben Winston (who will keep his salary and insurance) and Alderman Tommy Dukes who will also keep his salary and insurance. Merlene Wall, Jay McGraw, Quincy Rogers and Cora Rogers are giving up their insurance while Kent Crider is giving up his monthly salary. They're cutting six police officers and taking away the take home car of Chief Cowart while Danny Davis and Roy get to keep their take home rides, despite the fact that Roy will no longer be checking the lift stations on the weekend. I wonder if that will cut his Sunday trips to Ramey's every Sunday in the city truck. But just as Danny Davis boasted, the public works department has plenty of money so there shouldn't be any cuts in that department.
The citizens present were not pleased with the proposed cuts. On woman recounted how the Lumberton Police officers saved her life after getting stabbed and Cora Rogers grilled her about who stabbed her and how they got intoher home; missing the point that was being made. The woman was saying that the quick response is what saved her life and if she had to wait for the sheriff's office, she would have died. Chief Cowart alike to Danny Riegel and he told her that contrary to what was reported by Mayor Winston, he will not put an officer in Lumberton. Rigel said he will have an officer patrol the South end of Lamar County. That still leaves a 15-20 minute response time.
The overall concern was safety of the citizens and safety of the officers. That was the concern of everyone except the aldermen. They didn't take time to speak with the officers or the citizens to see if done type of plan could be worked out that would be mutually beneficial for everyone. Instead, they went behind closed doors, pulled a number out of the air and then told the chief to make it work. Before receding the meeting, they gave the chief four officers and a lost of part time officers. The board is still spending but they keep saying they don't have any money. In a couple of weeks, they plan to pay out $1,200 for five days of budget training. It just don't add up. The information needed to complete a budget is already outlined but our board does not want to read, they want to pay someone to come in and do the work for them and this is part of the problem. Also, there were suggestions from citizens but they were not readily accepted because the board members have their minds set on slashing the police department. Crider boldly proclaimed that when he was a cop, he patrolled alone for two years. I told Crude and the board that a lot has changed since 1950 and we cannot allow officers to patrol alone in 2014. The board did not complete the budget and will resume work on the budget on July 15, 2014. Which begs the question, why couldn't they wait until then to make cuts. Tomorrow is the start of one of the busiest, summer holidays and the board has severely cut our police department. The process was wrong and every board member that voted in favor of the cuts was wrong. The meeting will reconvene on July 15, 2014. In the meantime, pray for our city and pray for the dedicated officers and their denied because they lost their jobs to a political pissing match. Try to have a safe Fourth of July Weekend.