Archived Story

Worst. Majority. Ever.

Published 6:21pm Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Worst. Majority. Ever.

To the editor:
These are comments I made to the board of commissioners, particularly the majority, at the March 3 commissioners’ meeting.  I made these comments about an hour before the board returned from yet another closed, secret session, in which thaey completed the engineering of a $178,500 plus buyout of  county manager (Ryan) Whitson’s right to return to work for Polk County, after his active duty deployment in the U.S. Army Reserves, as he had always said he wanted to do.
The majority’s 4 – 1 vote in favor of the buyout, using taxpayers’ money, was the culmination of something they had long wanted to do, dump Ryan Whitson as county manager so they could further run amok.
My comments:
Given the board majority’s actions in recent weeks, I’m concerned that the majority is rushing to take action detrimental to our county before the return of county manager Ryan Whitson. He’s now expected back on the job in just one week.
While you haven’t been forthright about it, and while nobody has told me anything about efforts to harm Ryan Whitson, reading between the lines, and looking at your history (including your actions while I served on the BOC with two of you), it appears that that’s the direction you’re heading.
You’d be well advised to stop right now, and do what’s right for the county rather than what you think is right for your political prospects.
As Lee Mink and Ken Brady said in their letters to the editor last week, any decisions on Ryan’s fate and the assistant county manager position should wait until Ryan is back in his rightful job and can speak to the public about his positions on matters you may have raised.
Ryan is an excellent county manager. He did excellent work before his deployment.  He is well liked and respected by the county employees. He has the best interests of Polk County in mind at all times and carries out his duties for the benefit of all Polk County citizens, with no political goals or biases. I suspect that’s one of the majority’s complaints about him.
He was called to active duty by the Army and has served his country well.
As one of those who wrote a recent letter to the editor noted, your group and party always put up banners at election time saying “Support Our Troops.” You have a chance now actually to support one of our troops:  Ryan Whitson.  You have a chance to show the public whether “support our troops” is just an empty election slogan to you or whether you believe in it and practice it. You have a chance to show whether all the awards and pomp you engaged in about the Veterans Day parade was just a way to further your political careers or because you really care about and respect veterans.
How you treat Ryan Whitson will tell us your true feelings about soldiers and veterans. We’ll be watching what you do, not what you say. Deeds are a much better indicator of your beliefs than are your words.
Update:  And now we know.
– Renée McDermott, Tryon

Editor's Picks

Editorial: Divisive prayer alienated citizens

Everyone deserves the right to free speech. Few will argue this point more staunchly than those who work in the newspaper industry.  Even we have ... Read more  | 2 comments

Bathanti will judge Lanier Library’s poetry competition

North Carolina’s Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will judge for this year’s Sidney Lanier Poetry Competition. Bathanti is the author of eight books of poetry as ... Read more