Blind Leading the Blind
More happened last night, during executive session, but I was blogging from my tablet and didn't want to key in all those characters. Well, it seems that Johnny Buckley, building/code enforcer, made claims that the chairperson of the planning and zoning committee misread the comprehensive plan and approved the establishment of Howell Nails, Inc. as a neighborhood business without approval from the planning and zoning committee. Now, let me set the record straight, and for those of you that are curious why I know so much about what's going on with the planning and zoning committee, well, the chairperson is my mother. Since the cowardly board did not want to hear the truth; instead they were satisfied with getting one side of the story, otherwise, they would have brought the chairperson into executive session and presented her with the information they were discussing. But I guess that would have been to honorable for these board members. Besides, the board had not business discussing a volunteer position in executive session while telling the public they're discussing personnel issues. Yet another ethics violation. For the record, the planning and zoning chairperson told the city clerk, over the telephone, where the guidelines for a neighborhood business is located in the comprehensive plan. The city clerk, Merlene Wall, was supposed to review the information and pass it on to the building inspector, Johnny Buckley, to make sure the business meets the guidelines set forth in the comprehensive plan. Instead, Merlene issued the person a building permit and that's not something done by the planning and zoning committee. So, in order to cover their inept tails, Wall and Buckley are trying to say they were given approval by the planning and zoning chairperson. My question then would be, where is the letter she submitted giving the go ahead for this business. I know the chairperson very well, and she document her actions via a letter. So, try again. I can't wait for this board to get the balls to discuss this matter in the open because they're not dealing with someone that's not able to defend her decisions. Also, that's another reason why it's important for the clerks to get the information in writing and stop trying to conduct all their business via a telephone call. The longer Merlene holds that position, the more I long for the return of Stephanie Mullings.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not like the Hebrews that got freedom and then started complaining about garlic and leeks. One thing is for certain, Stephanie knew her job; she didn't always do her job but she knew it. But as I reflect on what happened while she was city clerk, I'm beginning to think that she did a lot of things because she was threatened with termination. Right before the election, Bobby Gibson, allegedly, told the current clerks they wouldn't have a job after he was re-elected. At this point, I'm wishing I would have cast my vote for Gibson instead of Cora Rogers. I think there were more not seen. I believe Gibson, Crider and Johnson were behind a lot of the mishaps that took place at city hall during Mayor Holder's term as mayor. I wanted Stephanie to be the bad guy but it seems that she was just the fall guy and that that could very well explain why the board is not willing to go after her because they know the decisions that were made, were made at the behest of three board members. Say what you will about Stephanie, and I have, but she knew her job. Stephanie knew how to complete a budget, without the added expense of calling in other clerks and a wing man from the Coast. Besides, if Stephanie's work was so shoddy, why did the board use her budget for a second year? I have no doubt that Stephanie could answer a zoning question, a budget question and she definately knew the rules governing executive session. Now, there are those that will say, why am I back tracking? I'm not backtracking and the decision to terminate Stephanie Mullings was not based on anything I said on this blog; the board took it upon themselves to terminate her as city clerk. As a matter of fact, it was her frenemy, Rebecca Hales, that crossed the aisle and issued the coup de grace. I think there's more to the story and Stephanie knows where the bodies are buried and that probably has at least three aldermen very worried; well probably two because one is still covered by his bond but Timothy Johnson and Bobby Gibson no longer have the protection of a bond. I can't unring the bell of the things I've said about her in this blog but I wish her victory in the case against the City of Lumberton because the ones that were seemingly supporting her were the ones calling the shots and their votes will be used to condemn them in a court of law. I just wish all three were no longer under the protection of a bond.
In closing, I went to city hall this morning and I noticed the pink signs with the phrase "no cell phones or recording devices allowed" has been removed. I went there to challenge the signs because Merlene is not going to just make up ordinances to suit her needs. She think everyone in Lumberton is her enemy. Whenever I talk to her one on one, I'm going to record the conversation because she's a liar and I don't have time to put out fires after I leave. She want to make everything into a personal attack against her. For example, when a customer was upset that she was lied to about the reading and testing of her water meter, the customer paid the inflated bill but she also wrote a letter detailing her disgust in how the matter was handled. Since Merlene likes to play the perpetual victim, she felt the need to make copies of the letter and show it to the board members. What were they supposed to do, tar and feather the customer for paying the bill and having the audacity to state her displeasure in how the manner was handled. Merlene uses the board and any situation for her benefit. The fact that she had convinced the board that I planted recording devices in the board room is a testament of the stupidity of the board members and the city clerk. For the record, I have known Ben Winston, Quincy Rogers, Tommy Dukes and Cora Rogers all of my life. For Winston, Dukes and Cora Rogers to sit there and accept this woman's word over mines just shows how flawed they are. What type of spell does she have over them? It seems like this city keep going through the same thing over and over again. They never want to address and issue, they just kick it down the road and hope they don't have to address the elephant in the room. Just so you know, Merlene, the only recording device I have is in my hands, the cellphone and sometimes a tablet. I don't need to bug a board room to get information. City hall is a public building and the meetings are public. What are you and the board members hiding that you don't want the public to know? And another thing, Merlene, unlike you, I know the guidelines for a code charter municipality. While you're focusing on turning me into the enemy, you might should take a look at yourself, acknowledge that you don't know what you're doing and invite my out for several lunches because I can actually teach you how to do your job. I hope you felt the shade from that statement because it was implied and intended. Until then, take several seats.