Review of February 3, 2015 Board Meeting: The Extortion Edition

There were several people that came to make presentations to the board. Before you ask, yes, I Googled them and apparently it's catching on because Alderman McGraw Googled them as well. First on the agenda was John Walker of the Ms. Forestery Commission addressed the board about establishing a Fire Wise organization. The organization allows for grant opportunities. The requirements are as follows: 1. Form a fire wise board, 2. Invest $2/per capita via in-kind services, 3. Complete a community assessment proposal, and 4. Host a fire wise day. Next on the agenda was Russell Heidelberg of Pritchard, AL. He suggested the city take advantage of a program established in 2010 to help the city gain financial stability. The program is processed through the SEC A-plus subsidy program. It uses perferred stock to help fund projects. The program seemed to be a good fit for Lumberton but when Heidelberg outlined the two basic requirements, the board seemed uninterested. The requirements are as follows: 1. A board that works well with one another and 2. Have a planning and zoning committee. Now we will see if this board is willing to move this city forward or stick to their self-serving agendas. Stanley Rayborn, President of the LEDC, addressed the board and asked for any grant assistance in getting the Lumberton Museum repaired.

The board voted to allow the Mayor to sign CDBG forms for Jason Hicks with Sample and Hicks for the City of Lumberton. The order to advertise for bids for the 2014 CDBG sewer improvement project contract no. 1 for upgrdes to wastewater treatment plant. There was an order to approve engineering estimate no. 1 in the amount of $16,940 for the CDBG Sewer Improvement project. The board also voted to open a non-interest bearing account for the CDBG sewer account. There was an order to discuss the scope of work items for the 2015 FAA-AIP Grant Project. According to Hickman, the City of Lumberton will be responsible to pay $13,000 of the grant (5%) for the beacon and construction of a new hanger. Keep in mind, the City of Lumberton collects $4,200/year in rent for the entire airport. At some point, hopefully, someone will realize that we need to generate enough revenue to cover the matching funds we must pay for airport improvements that are being enjoyed by Gold Coast Skydivers.

Despite the fact that the fire department has failed to turn in $2,800 in receipts, the board voted to open a bank account for fire improvement. They also voted to open an account for airport improvement. It was said these accounts needed to be separate from general fund. It seems that a similar account would be opened for the police department. Jay McGraw is heading up a community clean up project. They said they will provide the date of the event to Kathleen Bogle, so check your Sunday paper for updates.

The department heads gave their reports. Chief Cowart said the jail bill is increasing. She also explained why the City of Lumberton cannot participate in the amnesty program. The amount of uncollected fines is bordering the million dollars mark. Danny Davis, of Public Works, requested to have some weekends off. Davis suggested his handpicked assistant, Michael Tims, be given the opportunity to work in his steed. Tims will get a few hours overtime and Winston said there was money in the budget to cover the overtime; despite claiming the city is broke for months. Davis didn't mention that Tims will need a take home truck unless he's already taking home a truck. Excuse me, I forgot evey department had significagant cuts except the public works department. Merlene Wall gave her report as well. She explained that the water bills were not corrected with white out; she explained that Keenon Johnson, clerk, processed the bills and mistakenly entered last month's due date. Merlene also blamed Johnson for the delay in getting the agendas to the alderpersons in a timely fashion. Winston suggested referring to the water bill as city services bill because it contains charges for several services. Winston addressed the board. He and Kathleen Bogle will select a citizen that will be featured as the "Citizen of the Month" in her Sunday column.

The board voted to approve the month of January, 2015 unpaid claims. General fund $71,711.49 and WSOM $30,256.90. Alderman Quincy Rogers had stepped out prior to this agenda item. All were in favor of this motion with Alderwoman Cora Rogers voting no. Prior to Alderman Rogers coming back into the board room, Tommy Dukes asked to amend the agenda and establish a rule that "if an alderperson vote against approving the claims docket, they will not get paid." I know we're dealing with the new Jim Crow but is Dukes so obtuse that he would suggest imposing a modern day poll tax on an elected official that didn't vote the way they wanted them to vote. The motion was seconded by Jay McGraw. By then, Alderman Rogers interjected, saying no law exist that would make that possible. What Dukes proposed and got seconded by McGraw is nothing but political extortion and he was stupid enough to put that on record. As a person that went to an integrated school, he should know better. Apologies. Apparently he doesn't know any better and our attorney sat there like a lump on the log and Dukes tried to get a resolution passed that would force a person to vote yes or have your money stopped. Our attorney remained quiet but just a few months ago, he argued that the mayor had the right to refuse to break a tie but he's going to investigate to see if a favorable vote could be extorted by withholding pay. In other words, they're going to see if they can knock those who aren't comfortable with the accuracy of the unpaid claims docket over the head and put them down in the n***er hole. Not surprisingly, there were residents of Candyland in the audience that actually thought this was a good idea. Prior to this moment, the meeting was actually going well. Next, the motion to approve the paid claims docket of January, 2015 passed; $129,651.59 from general fund and $23,472.80 from WSOM. The board approved payroll for January, 2015; $24,549.79 general fund and $10,809.45 WSOM. The board approved city clerk, Merlene Wall, to attend budgey training class with BBI on February 12-13, 2015 in Flowood, MS for a cost of $1,282.21 for hotel, per diem, mileage and class. So, next month, we shouldn't have anymore budget excuses. The board closed the meeting and went into executive srssion.

Winston amended the agenda to hold a public hearing to re-zone the insurance building next to Lumberton Farm and Garden for manufacturing. According to Winston, a rebarb bending company want to set up their business on one of the main streets of Lumberton. The unnamed company will allegedly employ two or three employees. Please keep in mind, spot zoning is illegal. Personally, I don't think there is a company but this is another way for Winston to get the zoning changed so he and his business partners can raise the price of their land. There's property all over Lumberton zoned for manufacturing. Why would you want to put a scrap metal company on a main street? What's the point in cleaning the city if we're going to store junk at every entrance? Crider also had the agenda amended to use Wood-Hinton Park for a car show. The board gave a report after exiting executive session. See the video. As I stated in an earlier post, the department heads of city hall allegedly campaigned to have Judge Pittman terminated. Per their alleged request, Pittman was terminated and Anderson was hired. There's going to be a big fallout over this decision and you can thank your police chief and board for this move backwards. Guess I better read up on antiquated state laws and you should too. There was some changes in the police department but what's the point in going over the details. If the head is dirty, the body is in the mud. The videos from tonight's meeting are ready to view on the Lumberton Informer Facebook page.

Comments

  1. Tommy Dukes need to take his dumb ass home. I guess he's missing Super Cookie and can't think right without his buttplug

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  2. So the D in Dukes stands for Dummy?

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  3. What's the deal between you and the police chief? I always knew she wS a snake and you did too. Why are you surprised by her actions? She stayed on and helped the person that got her brother fired. Does this mean you no longer support the police department?

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    1. There is no deal between me and the police chief but everything I've heard has been falling into place. I never underestimate the length a person will go to keep a position. I guess it could be worse; they could hire Hobson. I will always be supportive of adequate police protection as long as they're fair. My concern now is staying out of traffic court. I follow the laws, have insurance and I think I'm parked properly but that didn't stop them the last time. I see where this is going and I have no doubt that these department heads are up to something other than doing their job. I'm keeping my eyes and ears open.

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  4. Tommy Dukes is a dumb ass and so is that attorney. He could have at least stopped texting and pretended to be interested.

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  5. Let me get this straight, Tommy was running around getting prison sex and his wife Doris stealing from the church to support her gambling habits and the fact that her husband like hymns and I'm not talking about songs. Now Tommy is on the board and the LEDC. If you go to the County office you will see he has a tax lien on every business he owned but he's going to try and force Quincy to vote they way. Tommy shouldn't be making any business decisions. Get him a tube of Astroglide and send him home.

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  6. Ok, you are talking about a person not voting shouldn't get paid. You set on that Board every first Tuesday and what have you done and what have you voted for? Your personal agenda at least Quincy is smart enough not to vote on Dumb ????? You are breaking the law. The untouchable, the Black Al Capone. Wait!!! You have the police department, mayor and the City Attorney eating out of you hand hmmmm?

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    1. Whenever corruption is running rampant, the police department and attorneys are usually in their pocket. The level of corruption taking place in Lumberton wouldn't be allowed to happen without compliance.

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  7. Now why we don't have a Planning and Zoning?

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    1. Ben wants to get rid of planning and zoning so he can spot zones areas owned by his business associates. That way they can charge more for the land.

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  8. It's sad I thought we had the best Police Chief and now to find out she is part of the problem. Who can we trust to do their job?

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    1. We all thought so but we were bamboozled. Personally, I think Flynt would make an excellent chief but honorable chiefs aren't kept for long.

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  9. What happen to the City of Lumberton not having money?? They agreed to pay all this stuff where did the money come from?

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    1. The city has always had money. They just used that lie to cut the police department. As you can see, any request made by the city clerk or public works department is approved.

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  10. Ben is trying to use ego and vanity to gain votes. We all know that those that truly deserves recognition will be overlooked, like the Lumberton Informer. You play a vital role in keeping citizens awRe of what's going on but I doubt he will ever instruct Kathleen Bogle to feature you in the paper. And let's talk about that museum. Kathleen will so anything to keep that musty beacon of redneck history open including allowing Ben to direct her Sunday posts.

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  11. What about Mr. Russell Heidelberg Subsidy Program that's something to look into?

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    1. It seems to be a good option for Lumberton but the fact that it requires a planning and zoning committee is not going to sit well with this mayor and board. It looks like they're going to turn down a real opportunity because they don't want to have regulations in place. For example, they're going to refine a Main Street for a scrap metal business that may employ two people while we gave two industrial parks that's come truly empty.

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  12. What is your issue with public works? If you were truly worried so much about the price of your water bill maybe you should have went to the meeting Danny Davis held. But I guess then you wouldn't have Anything to complain about with public works now would you? How about you get out there in the freezing cold and rain and read meters or fix a blown water line. No? I didn't think so.

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    1. In case you didn't notice, most of the city has a problem with the public works department. If the errors aren't being made by the meter readers the errors are being made in the office. How do you know I didn't attend the meeting were you there? Of course you were Michael because I don't see Danny responding to this post. He likes to lurk in the dark. For the record, I didn't need to attend the meeting. It's his department that has the problem reading meters. As far as the weather, didn't you know your job was outside when you put in the application? Besides, Danny is grooming you for the director position so you can continue riding in trucks while others are actually fixing blown water lines in the cold. Do spare me the dramatics because your complexion got you transferred from a seasonal grass cutter to heir apparent. Did you think of the men that lost their jobs because Danny wants to pass the rings to a white person? If you all can get the bills correct and stop picking who you overcharge, then I and the rest of the citizens, would not have a problem with your department.

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  13. Why are the city employees always on this blog during business hours? Shouldn't they be working? If they spent more time on their jobs then we can get accurate water bills and a correct budget. I saw on the video that Merlene is already making excuses before she get training.

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  14. If a person choose to apply for a job with bad weather condition, that's your problem not the people you work for. I am sure those guys who were laid off would love to be in any weather working. Quit and see who would apply for your Jobs. I sure a more qualified person. Plus why is it that only blacks are hit with high water bills?
    Yes, we notice.

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  15. I don't think this training will help Merlene but we are going to give her the opportunity. When she return from her vacation I meant training at the City expense. I hope she will be a better City Clerk.

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  16. Can we all just come together as a City and Clean up the city hall, fire department, police department and the public works department. I sure some of these people are good but the most are not. Please People lets get together and have a meeting soon! I am talking about blacks, whites, male and female. The Mayor and Board think we can't do this but yes we can!

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  17. Every City have and need a planning and zoning committee.
    That Al Capone comment was funny. I think that person could be right.

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  18. These are the Board Members dumb--Jay, dumber--Kent and dumbest--Tommie.

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  19. Elsie the cow I mean chief can't be trusted. She's the same as the former chief just a different side of the Dane coin. If she gave a damn about this city she would have removed Rodney Parker's punk ass from the part time roster. Everytime he's on duty you can find him and the Tahoe parked at Greg Toneys house most of his shift. I know she knows it but since Parker will lie for her, she keeps him in her circle.

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  20. I Think Rodney Parker is a great Police Officer. He is a hard working man.

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  21. Why would Rodney lie for the Chief? Elsie will throw him under the bus too. I don't care where the Officers are as long as he or she is in the city and can be reach in case of an emergency.

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  22. Rodney is a very hard working man until he clocks in at the LPD. It does matter where the officers are. I don't know how this turned on to Rodney because Daniel Willis-Wilckek is another sorry officer. Just like Rodney, he turns his head when convenient. In case anyone has forgotten, it's Rodney's nephew that's breaking into all these cars and houses. No need to wonder why he keeps getting away.

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  23. We live in a small town and get used to seeing our police officers on a daily basis; especially since there are so few. If you have a valid complaint against an officer, file a complaint with the chief and if the problem persists, follow up with the board. If we see an officer parked, we don't know how long they've been there or if they're responding to an incident. Police officers put their lives on the line everyday the show up for work. I doubt any of them are looking the other way when a crime is being committed. There are very few officers here. Let's not vilify them with rumors and innuendo. If you have actual proof of an officer not doing their job then file a report but don't accuse them based on assumptions.

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  24. Why are you so forgiving of the police department but so critical of the public works department?

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    1. I'm supportive of the police department because officers risk their lives and for the most part, care about this community. The same cannot be said about the public works department. When most of the city have issues with inflated water bills, all we get are excuses and a clerk making up a story on the fly. What was her last excuse, oh, it was raining. If Danny was concerned about this city, he would find out what's causing the billing issues. Instead, he makes excuses for his chain smoking crew as they drive around day after day thinking like they're not accountable for accurate Meyer readings. Until recently, I truly believed I could go to the chief if there was a problem with an officer. As a matter of fact, the only officer I had a poor experience with is Parker but that was during the reign of Hobson. I haven't interacted with him since but I will always remember when he showed me who he truly was and I believed him. But I'm not going to blame an entire department based on a bad experience with one officer. The difference with public works is Danny will defend his crew, right or wrong, without any concern for the citizens. If the public works department attempted to make sure our bills were accurately calculated and meters are actually being read, despite weather conditions, there wouldn't be so much distrust of the department. When most people complain that their bills doubled and you essentially say let them eat cake, don't be surprised when they want to see you on the guillotine.

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  25. I guess I'm nosey. What did Rodney do to you?

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    1. If you want to know, ask me in person. It happened years ago and it changed my view of him as a person and a police officer. One thing for sure, right or wrong, he's about the blue line.

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  26. They're all dirty, the chief, city clerk, Danny and that Cook girl. They uphold each other in their mess and what is that Cook girl job? Is she the new clerk? She supposed to be in the water department but Danny don't want a black person advancing in his department and the gal failed the water exam twice. We need to get a lawyer and file a class action suit against the city.

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  27. I would love to receive some of my money back. Tell me what to do? I have all my paperwork and pictures from day one of the issues ready to go.

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    1. I'm checking with a law firm to see if we can file a class action lawsuit.

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  28. THANKS INFORMER!!!!

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  29. What's the big deal about where Rodney is parking? Most of the time I see him at Freddy Holder house. By parking he's saving the city on gas money. Them water guys park all the time. At least he's in the neighborhood if a call comes through. Personally I think the police department should be next to the fire department so they can respond to any part of the city quicker.

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  30. People complain about you not posting positive things about Lumberton but I noticed you barely got any responses about the two young men doing great things. Hypocrites.

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  31. The water guys ride all day long and does nothing but miss read water meters wasting gas.

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  32. Informer please post the information concerning the lawsuit to give every a chance to sign up. No joking we need to check into this. The only way this will stop is the people stand together. I heard alot of people have problems with their water bills mostly blacks.

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  33. If the Cook Lady can't pass the water exam why is she helping with the water bills. That's messed up. She probablly can't read meters either.

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  34. I see the water bills had white out on them. They didn't have enough paper to reprint them, was it lazy or a lack of knowledge on how to reprint the bills with the correct information.

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  35. I hear Class Action Lawsuit take time but if we get people to participate maybe we can stop some of the things going on in L town. Count me in, I will give a call you Informer.

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  36. Informer, how would we get in touch with you? My water bill is never right.

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  37. Informer I know you have a facebook page I will in box you!!! I don't have you number.

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  38. Informer I was trying to get your number but I forgot I could in box you. lol

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  39. Talking is good City of Lumberton but some things take action. Good Luck!!!

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  40. I want the water billing process to be challenged. We should never receive a water bill with white out on it. I'm still upset about Tommy Dukes attempt to force the hand of honest representatives. I wish that booty bandit would go somewhere and sit on a cactus but he might enjoy it too much.

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  41. How can Danny not want a black person advancing in his department. He is a little slow. Look at the way he handle business in the meetings but they give him everything he wants so I guess that's good. It's sad that people still hate because of the color of your skin or being female.

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  42. Now I see Cook is messy too. If she can't pass the water exam she need to go home.

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  43. I don't care what race you are it comes to right or wrong no in between.

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  44. Lumberton Informer I do love the way you report and if you are wrong you come back and clear it up. That's good. I also don't understand why people don't see that you have a love for Lumberton, but when you have dirty politics they will do anything and all things to discredit a person. It's sad but true. I see the Mayor, Jay, Kent and Tommie are all in a gang (The Little Rascals) are they for the City of Lumberton or against it? Since you started videoing the meetings and yes I watched all of them, you see that you are not lying about what goes on in the meetings. I have a new respect for you and I apologize for thinking different. I pray that you see this to the end.

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  45. It seems that the citizen of Lumberton doesn't care until it affect them. They just set back and let people attack and trash you.

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  46. The Cook girl is just like Merlene liar. She can't pass the water exam, so that mean she can't read water meters. That's bad.

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  47. Danny put down a new meter at my home and it wasn't put down correctly. Water was every where and it cause the meter to spin fast but they didn't adjust my bill. He didn't tell Merlene what had happen.

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  48. That Keenan woman is just as dirty and nasty as Merlene. She's always defending Merlene but when she was out the office, Merlene told several of us that Keenan was in court because she was about to lose custody of her children.

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  49. Did you see the Sunday paper? Look who's holding the bible for the swearing in of Anderson. You were on the mark with this one. All I have to say is stay out of traffic court. The snakes are out to get you.

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  50. The Planning and Zoning committee shouldn't have been dismantled. The board's antics are "noised abroad."

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