Woody ‘disappointed’ in Tryon’s protocol

Published 6:10 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Councilmen Woody, Arbogast speak on firing of manager
Tryon commissioners Doug Arbogast and Wim Woody, who did not attend a Jan. 3 emergency meeting to terminate the employment of former town manager Justin Hembree, issued statements at council’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17.
Woody said he was disappointed in the town’s protocol in making the decision but he supports the town’s decision to appoint Joey Davis as interim manager.
Arbogast directed his comments to both the citizens and council, saying he finds it annoying to be disapproved of by people who only know half the story.
Woody and Arbogast made their comments regarding an emergency meeting attended by Mayor Alan Peoples and councilmen George Baker and Roy Miller on Jan. 3 where Hembree was fired. There was no vote in open session to fire Hembree, so another special meeting was held on Thursday, Jan. 12, at which Arbogast, Baker, Miller and Peoples voted unanimously to terminate Hembree.
Woody’s and Arbogast’s comments are given in full below.
Wim Woody’s comments
In the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 3 meeting wherein our town manager, Justin Hembree, was terminated, I was extremely upset and disappointed at the process by which the manager was terminated and by the lack of protocol that was exhibited by those who attended the meeting.
In subsequent discussions with each board member and with the mayor, it has become evident to me that a lack of communication and reliance on third-party assumptions were responsible for the procedural error this meeting has come to represent. This is not how I want our small-town government to operate.
It is also evident to me that had the vote to terminate taken place in open session, the result likely would have been the same.
Be that as it may, it is our responsibility as an elected board to follow proper protocol, conduct our business openly and honestly and work to build consensus so that one member or one faction does not have untoward influence in resolution of our common issues.
In that vein, I strongly support the council’s decision to move forward under the leadership of Joey Davis as our interim town manager. I’m eager to work with Joey and his staff as we move forward together.
I believe a valuable lesson has been learned by all members of the council and also by the mayor. Frank and open discussion is important to avoid future procedural errors. We owe our citizens nothing less.
Thank you.
Doug Arbogast’s comments
I find it annoying to be disapproved of by people who know only half the story – especially when you’re not sure which half they know.
I direct this to the citizens as well as the council regarding recent events, specifically the termination of the town manager. There are at least two sides to every story, sometimes more. If jumping to conclusions was an Olympic sport, Tryon would have a lock on a gold medal. I am not criticizing anyone’s opinions or their right to have them, I am saying some of your reactions have been uncalled for.
With respect to transparency:
This council has a lot of characters… with character.
Character has been defined by “doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.” I think you have elected the right people to task this. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is getting caught. This council does not think like that.