“As a mayor and as a tax payer, I am very disappointed for some of the decisions this board has made,” began Mayor Danny Long during the board comments at the end of the Oakboro Board of Commissioners’ January meeting last Tuesday, January 22.
At the beginning of the meeting during the public comments period, Allen McGuire, planning and zoning commissioner, addressed the board concerning a charity donation made by the board at a special called meeting held January 15. The special meeting was called to discuss donating $500 to St. Stephen’s Wesleyan Church for a benefit concert for Relay for Life.
“I’d like to follow up on the special meeting you had regarding the donation to the charity with tax-payer money,” said McGuire. “I was disappointed that Commissioner [Chris] Huneycutt was not forthcoming with information that he had a family member that was a chair for the community event, which to me seems like a very fair case of conflict of interest.”
Mcguire continued with another point of disappointment for the meeting.
“The second thing was, because I was concerned about tax payer money going to charities not budgeted and not of the tax payers’ choice, I came by the next morning for a copy of the check, and I found out the check had been written for the charity a week ahead of time on January 8. The special meeting to discuss the issue wasn’t until the 15. To me, it made the special meeting seem meaningless and to me, it made a mockery of the process where citizens have an input during public discussion,” said Mcguire.
Later during the meeting, Commissioner Georgia Harvey, who was not present at the special meeting, addressed some of the concerns of McGuire. Harvey explained that there was a general fund in the budget designated for grants and donations totaling $4,000, but said it may not be where the donation totaling $500 would fall. Commissioner Huneycutt then addressed the issue by pointing out a general statute for backing the board’s decision. He did not address the conflict of interest point or the issue of the check dated for a week prior to the meeting made by McGuire.
The issue was not discussed again until the closing comments made by the mayor at the end of the meeting.
“As a mayor and as a tax payer, I am very disappointed for some of the decisions this board has made. The ideology that they can call each other on the phone and call it a board meeting is unethical and is not to be tolerated by this man. It has happened on several occasions, and it is not right,” said Long. “This board has made it legal tonight by policy, but this policy was discussed by telephone. This instance with the check was done prior by conversations by telephone╔ by people calling and getting opinions and making decisions. When the check came across my desk, I put it up until a special meeting was made, because it was done unethically.” […]