As the meeting progressed, there were two things I noticed from the other department heads (Danny and Merlene); their boldness in saying what they're NOT going to do. Here we have the Chief of Police practically begging to get more hours for the court clerk so she can properly collect fines and clear the books but the other two department heads have the temerity to tell the governing body what they're not going to do. During his report, Danny spoke of the need to get more training to keep his certification. While speaking of the hours needed, he said if he's required to take any tests he would not take any more tests and would stop testing the water we consume. I was shocked but the board didn't think twice about his threat to stop testing our drinking water. The main reason he's still on the payroll is his certification for testing water. Now he's bold enough to say what he's NOT going to do and nothing was said. In fairness, Danny did say he hoped his certification would last until his retirement but if not, we're going to have to pay to have our water tested. Hopefully, his hand selected successor will have the training and the ability to pass the certification test before this time. While on the subject of Michael, let me go on record to say I have no qualms with him. My only problem was how he was selected. He was hired as a seasonal worker (grass cutter) but for some reason he never cut the grass. For some reason, Danny saw potential in him and placed him in position to succeed Roy. As a matter of fact, he was assigned to ride with Roy, learn the tricks of the trade so to speak. Less than a month on the job, Danny saw more potential in Michael than he did of those under his tutelage for years. I wonder if his complexion help with the connection? Whatever the case may be, hopefully he will serve well in his apprenticeship and help bring transparency to a department that has been muddy for far too long. Again, in fairness, there were several opportunities for others to step up their game but I guess they were more interested in being field hands instead of the boss. Just recently, a woman was being groomed for possible advancement in the Public Works Department but her attitude coupled with a failure to complete the required test may have taken her out of the running. Besides, we definitely don't need another ornery person serving over the Public Works Department.
The other act of insubordination occured when a citizen was telling the board of her experience with one of the clerks and how her water bill was allegedly inflated to over $300 in retailiation. Mayor Winston and the board was looking into having the bill adjusted when Merlene said she will not adjust the water bill because there were mitigating circumstances. Would someone remind me who is the employer and who is the employee? Again, nothing was said about this refusal to follow direct instructions. This board wants to deny and cut anything related to the police department and public safety but the other two departments get to spend like they have an unlimited line of credit. Somehow, there's money to pay over $3,000 to have BBI complete work that should be processed by the city clerk, they hire two additional workers to cut grass 40/week but they never have funding to give the court clerk the 20 hours they slashed months ago. Interesting!?! This board could care less about the citizens or the police department. They see officers are leaving because of poor pay, excessive hours and lack of support. I guess the board think they can deplete the police department with the hope of having Lamar County take over despite the repeated refusals by the County to provide additional police protection for Lumberton.
After the board meeting was adjourned, a citizen approached McGraw and told him she was disappointed in tne board. Naturally, McGraw was receptive of what he probably considered criticism that was offered as a matter of concern. McGraw angrily responded by saying that we, the citizens, didn't realize how difficult their jobs were. He said something to the effect that if anyone thought the could do a better job, they can take his job. Rev. Jerry Rogers joined the conversation by saying if the job was so difficult, why didn't he dtep down? Good question. Is it just me but I would like to know why doing tne right thing and telling the truth is considered difficult? As a matter of fact, doing the wrong thing and telling lies requires more work. Maybe that's the problem, they think they're doing the right thing but actually lying to themselves. How difficult is it to do what's best for Lumberton? It's obvious that Merlene is incapable of doing the job as a city clerk and that's probably why she's so combative towards the customers/citizens of Lumberton. Ben asked that we pray. Well, I am praying. I'm praying that all the crooked, self-serving elected officials be exposed and taken down. It's time out for foolishness and it's time to stop letting a fraction of spineless individuals to continue to ruin our city. Here's a thought, if this city had true growth that would bring more business and more business means more potential investord and more investors mean more land and houses getting sold. They've been in office for 2 years, one would think they would realize by now that you can't win when you're dirty. Have you grown tired of being dirty? Then clean your hands and do what's bedt for Lumberton and everything else will fall into place. Otherwise, we're going to kerp circling this mountain.