Review of April 7, 2015 Board Meeting: Merlene the Money Pit Edition

The first agenda item was to allow Mayor Winston to sign a proclamation to declare National Association for Education of Young Children Week April 13-17, 2015. Next the board voted to declare the Lumberton Hospital surplus and advertise for bids. After a lengthy discussion, it's still not clear if they're including tne land. The board voted to allow Lamar County to take over the Lumberton Volunteer Fire Department. This new agreement terminates the contract with the Lumberton Fireproof Panthers. It should also put an end to seeing R1 (the fire department suburban) at tne local stores and 301 S 5th Street. In all fairness, the bags loaded into the truck and Ramey's and Family Dollar could have been supplies for the department but we no longer need to be concerned about how the vehicle is being used after tomorrow. The new contract with Lamar County includes a 10 year lease of the fire station and the transfer of $20,000 from Lumberton's fire department account to Lamar County. Eventually, there will be a full time officer stationed at the fire department.

The department heads gave their reports. I uploaded the videos on the Lumberton Informer Facebook page. Ben Winston addressed the public, urging citizens to pray. There was an order to approve unpaid claims for the month of March, 2015 in tne amount of $25,283.89 for general fund and $32,361.65 WSOM. There was an order to approve paid claims for the month of March, 2015 for the general fund, $76,013.98, and $37,466.25 for WSOM. The board approved payroll for March, 2015 in the amount of $35,089.11. Next the board voted to pay BBI $3,507.84 to bring the bank account up to balance with the budget for FY2015. If you recall, a few months ago, Merlene claimed she wasn't trained in budgetarty. As a result of tnis claim, tne board paid thousands to have her trained for tne BBI system. Merlene recently went to training, all expenses paid, and now we're paying more money to BBI to do the work she was trained to do. For a board almost completely comprised of men, they vote like group of eunuchs. No one has the cojones to tell Merlene to do her job or look for another one. Instead, they keep throwing money down the drain for someone that's either not willing or does not have the wherewithal to do her job. The board never had enough money to give the court clerk 40/week, but they continue to fund an inept city clerk. Let's face it, Merlene is not a good investment. Seriously, how many more years can she actually serve in this position? Sooner or later, the city is going to have to face the music and start making sound business decisions. Most elderly people that don't have enough funds or sense to retire are usually greeting you at the doors of Wal-Mart but the previous board thought she would make a good clerk because she knew how to organize a tire factory and the current board continues to let her waste resources by trying to teach an old dog new tricks. In case they didn't notice, it takes a lot of training to get a person from an abacus to a software application. She knows her way around my blog but she's not as astute when it comes to BBI. I wonder what's going to be her excuse for FY2016?

The board accepted the resignation of Officer M. Shane Flynt effective March 25, 2015. The board accepted the resignation of Officer Michael Decelle from full time to part time effective April 7, 2015. There was an order to allow Officer Joe Van Parkman and Officer Carlus Paige to become a full time officer effective April 7, 2015. There was an order to solicit quotes to purchase a new diffused air type aerator for the waste water treatment plant under the 2015 CDBG sewer improvement grant project. The board voted to hire William Kelley and Arthur Patton as seasonal workers for the Public Works Department. There was a vote to have a budget update once BBI complete the work. There was a vote to hire an intern from USM to help in the city clerk's office. It was a 3-2 vote with Q. Rogers, Dukes and C. Rogers voting for the intern and McGraw and Cridet against. The city attorney advised the board that the intern cannot handle any money because she cannot be bonded but she could help with paperwork. After the hiring of the intern was approved, Merlene said she didn't want any help in her office so that should put an end to her crying about she need help since she turned down free help. After Merlene refused the services of the intern, Chief Cowart said she would love to have her work in her department. Last on the agenda was citizens comments.

One citizen wanted to address the board regarding personnel issues but the Mayor and most of the board refused to go into executive session. They claimed it would have violated The Open Meetings Act but it didn't. I guess this board needs a refresher course in the laws governing their position. I posted the video but based on Merlene's reaction, it was clear that the citizen was telling the truth. Merlene started writing notes, giving her confused, deer caught in head lights reaction and whispering. I don't know what she was hiding but when a person is telling the truth, they generally don't resort to whispering. If someone is calling me a liar, to my face, I'm vehemently going to defend myself. I'm not going to retreat by whispering my side of tne story. But she could have fabricated her story behind closed doors but the board didn't want to go into executive session. There were other matters discussed, Crider didn't want to be bothered and left before the meeting was adjourned. After briefly discussing other concerns, the meeting was adjourned.


  1. She is so stupid. Do you think she's suffering from early onset Alzheimer's? But it's even worse that the board can't see the problem do you think they have dementia or just don't care? Either way, it's sad.

  2. They have money for everything except a full time court clerk. Just when you thought things couldn't get any crazier.

  3. I noticed you didn't mention Jay's intoxicated behavior. If Jay don't get into a rehab program his temper tantrums are going to lead to an ass whoppin.

  4. I heard the city made an out of court settlement with the former clerk. Is it true?

  5. I believe they did settle out of court. This person bought a new car and is running the wheels off of it.

  6. How many time will a citizen have to complain about the treatment in the City Hall? I really don't care for this Board, surely they are not for the citizens.

  7. The city think bad is good and good is bad. Lord help us all. I am so tried of this city clerk and her helper. Please lets vote better in the next election. Please! Please!

  8. Can we fast foward to the new city clerk and board?


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