Tag Archives: Cronyism

Kinston City Council Campaign Promises About To Play Out

The City of Kinston Nepotism Policy was rewritten in the latter part of 2015 and swiftly passed through Council just a few months prior to the November election. Incumbent Sammy Aiken was a vocal opponent of the amendment to this policy which, as written, now allows family of City Council and the Mayor to be hired on at the City.

Mayor Pro Tem, Robbie Swinson, IV went with Sammy on this one, opposing the changes that came about when Council member, Wynn Whittington, questioned the rule.  Whittington’s brother had applied for a couple of jobs with the City and was turned away because of his relationship to the Councilman.

One thing you don’t do as an elected official is help your family members out publicly.  That’s called favoritism and Mr. Whittington blatantly did so.

The Daily News Fix was out front on this development (See HERE) and there was much debate.  So much debate, in fact, that the NAACP readily opposed this form of cronyism and made it part of their line of questioning in the public forum they put on in which all the candidates were asked the question, “If you are elected to City Council will you work to repeal the Nepotism Policy amendment?” (paraphrased)

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All the candidates made a public pledge to repeal the amendment once elected with the exception of, then Councilwoman, Kelly Jarman.  She lost her seat on Council, coming in fifth place in the eight candidate contest. Ironically she was the top vote-getter in 2011. Her refusal to admit she was wrong and her allegiance vote with Whittington cost her that seat. See October prediction HERE

The repeal of this Amendment is on the table Monday, February 15th at the 7 PM City Council meeting at Kinston City Hall.  Why would the reversal of this amendment be a problem?  It should be a 4 to 1 landslide at worst.

Maybe Whittington will even concede if he shows up for the vote.  He’s been MIA(absent) three(3) of the last four(4) Council meetings.

Everyone sitting on Council made a promise to their constituents to repeal the amendment except for Whittington.  If this amendment is not reversed after Monday’s meeting, the consequences for this Council could be earth shattering.

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Lets’s get this done people. This is a no-brainer.  Next order of business should be how to move all public housing located in the City of Kinston into private sector housing, work to get residents off welfare and food stamps and onto a payroll while curbing crime in the process. That takes representation with guts and resolve.  If this Council can’t handle this simple task Monday….. well, we’ll talk about that next time!

Other links October Article 1 Whittington Lashes Out

A Matter of Accountability

“When it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else.” ~ David Brin

Part One (State)

Elected officials have obligations to their constituents. In the case of North Carolina State Attorney General Roy Cooper, he has an obligation to defend the State of North Carolina and uphold the State Constitution. He has shirked those responsibilities repeatedly.  AG Cooper refused to defend the State against Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare. Cooper refused to defend the Voter ID bill passed in 2013 by the North Carolina legislature causing Governor Pat McCrory to hire outside legal council paid for by the taxpayers. He has repeatedly abused his position of authority and influence and even used “his own office to do President Obama’s political bidding and fill his campaign coffers”.  All along he should have been looking out for the interests of North Carolinians. 

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Attorney General Roy Cooper failed to defend the State against Obama’s illegal mandate on immigration. Cooper is a real piece of work. He had to defend himself in a libel suit. He showed up for that, no problem.  But, he has not shown up to perform his sworn duties to the people of North Carolina. 

Part Two (Local)

Kinston City Council member Wynn Whittington has missed three (3) out of the last four (4) City Council meetings. The Councilman was elected in 2013 and was at the heart of the Nepotism Amendment controversy that most likely helped usher in some new in the 2015 election. Mr. Whittington has not stated publicly why he missed these important meetings.  Whittington is one of five (5) PAID City Council members. 

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This is NOT a partisan issue. We learned that the City of Kinston does not have an attendance policy for City Council members. We think an attendance policy similar to some of the City’s commissions and boards should be considered and the by-laws amended accordingly.  The Utilities Advisory Commission, for instance, has a policy that considers it an automatic resignation when a Commissioner misses three consecutive meetings unless the UAC determines, by majority vote, that the absence was for good cause.  

There is a difference, however that must be considered.  Commissioners and board members are unpaid appointed volunteer positions. City Council members are elected by the people and paid for their services. Elected officials can be impeached or reprimanded but not fired.  They are accountable to the people, the residents of Kinston.

WE suggest that an independent review board be set up consisting of two Council members and three private residents. Once any Council member misses three (3) consecutive Council meetings his/her case would be considered for censure or given an opportunity to resign.

Personal hardship is a fact of life, but when it conflicts with elected duties it is time to step down. Job conflicts and vacation don’t count as hardship. Elected officials know the responsibilities they are taking on prior to taking the oath of office.

The review may be closed to the public but the minutes would be made public.  This review process would be for any elected official serving City residents.

WE also suggest an avenue for impeachment of under performing or habitually absent elected officials, brought by residents, should also be placed in the by-laws. 

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Elected officials are responsible to all residents. They are elected to perform a duty and are expected to participate in public meetings. They have a moral obligation to uphold the highest standards putting the welfare and safety of Kinston residents first, even ahead of their own needs.    

We have immense respect for anyone who would subject themselves to public service at any level. It takes a special person to withstand the pressures of public office.  

In closing…. We think there needs to be a better system of checks and balances for elected officials in Kinston City government. Four years is too long to wait to replace a Council member or Mayor that is under-performing, incompetent, or just doesn’t show up for work; all the while making decisions with our tax dollars that affects our health, safety and well-being. Our residents deserve accountability and transparency, if not for the fact we are paying for that service. Implementing the above mentioned measures would be a good start in holding elected public servants accountable.

A Political Litmus Test

The new buzz word is “Conservative” and a lot of people claim to be one.  Some believe in a sliding scale of conservatism but we just don’t understand that thinking.  That’s sort of like being a “little bit pregnant”.  So what is a Conservative?  One definition, when used as a noun, is this:

Conservative ~ A person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes, typically in relation to politics.

The word is often used very loosely.  For example, claiming to be a social liberal yet fiscally “conservative” sends confusing messages.  Supporting fiscal responsibility and promoting reduction in the size of government are conservative principles.  But, if you simultaneously support Planned Parenthood, same-sex marriage, or tax funded social programs that only enslave the recipients you fail the “Conservative Litmus Test”.

Liberal Progressive Democrats claim Planned Parenthood, which is, by majority, federally subsidized by your tax dollars, is a support function for women’s health.  In reality, the main function of Planned Parenthood is performing abortions.  Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood and is lauded by liberal Democrats like Hillary Clinton as a hero.  In reality, Margaret Sanger promoted murder and eugenics which carries on today through Planned Parenthood. We are all paying for the murder of the unborn; like it or not.

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“[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.” ~ Margaret Sanger

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Pictured is Margaret Sanger addressing the Women’s Auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan.  Ironically, 95% of black voters supported a Democrat, Barack Hussein Obama, for President in 2012.

Churchgoers that register as Democrats, but claim to be Christians give support to Margaret Sanger’s philosophy; like it or not.   Most voters are ignorant to the Democratic Platform but it is the antithesis to Christianity.  Jesus didn’t condone abortion or selective sterilization in his teachings.  So, it is through our ignorance that we fail to halt the Liberal Progressive movement.

Progressivism is a disease propagated by our compliance, our meekness, our fear of being adversely socially or economically impacted, or ostracized if we take the moral high ground.

We would argue that the moral high ground is an honorable place to dwell.  Roughly 57 million Protestant evangelicals are registered to vote.  But, in 2012, only about 30 million made it to the polls for the Presidential general election.  In 2016, if we don’t show up at the polls, we will lose our Republic.  It’s all in the numbers and Hillary Clinton’s liberal progressive Marxist cronies can’t wait to take control of our country.  Our Constitution means absolutely nothing to the left.  Their plan is to remove our 2nd Amendment rights by disarming the public.  Once accomplished, with no way to protect ourselves, our 1st Amendment rights will be snuffed out. Recently we have seen that Obama aims to leave office and a legacy of illegally mandating gun control laws.  Read more HERE and HERE

The “Conservative Litmus Test” is this.  When trying to discern the nature of a political argument, individual, or policy, simply ask yourself if it or they support the following:

  • Right to life?
  • Marriage between one man and one woman?
  • Free enterprise and free market capitalism?
  • Strong national defense?
  • Deregulation and reduction in the size of government?
  • Traditional moral values?
  • The Constitution of the United States of America in full?

Hillary Clinton is an enemy to all of the above.  If you think the last 7 years have been tough, just you wait.  We must educate voters and get them to the polls.  We must wake people up to the fact that the government is not their master.  We are the master of our government.  Liberal Progressives like Hillary Clinton think the American public is stupid.  This is not a game as is evidenced by this one very telling quote.

“I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision.  I am really in awe of her, there are a lot of lessons we can learn from her life.”  ~  Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Clinton believes, like Margaret Sanger, that she has the right to slaughter the innocent unborn.  She is counting on the liberal media to sell gun control, but mute any discussion on abortion.  Roughly 30,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. by firearms, two-thirds of which are suicide.  In contrast, there are well over 1,200,000 abortions performed each year in the U.S.  That’s a 40:1 ration of death by abortion to death by gun.

That means abortion kills 40 times more people each year than guns. This illustrates the fact that progressive liberals like Hillary Clinton care 40 times more about disarming citizens than they do about murdering unborn children.

Hillary Is Here

Hillary and company want to control your choices like the right to defend yourself.  She has no respect for your personal liberty.  Educate your compliant friends and pass this information on.  The quality of life our children and grandchildren will have is dependent upon the action(s) we take Right Now.

A “Free” Education On Losing Our Liberty

The leftist progressives and their POTUS Puppet, B. Hussein Obama, are gearing up in a big way for 2016.  Mid January you can expect a few major assaults our 2nd Amendment rights.

Emperor Obama will issue a decree across the lands (by executive order) that everyone “in the business” of selling firearms will be required to perform background checks. Federally licensed dealers are already required to run background checks through the FBI….. but what if Johnny wants to sell Sally a handgun or by some other private means?  Roughly 40% of the guns in America are currently bought and sold privately.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is all for making it more difficult to exercise our 2nd Amendment rights. Obama aims to go out with a bang and push this agenda to the hilt. He’ll be remembered as not only the worst President fiscally, driving our national debt over 19 Trillion before leaving office, but also the most abusive when it comes to trashing our Constitutional rights.  He just doesn’t respect the our founding documents, the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND.  He has no regard whatsoever for the citizens of the United States….. none. The National Rifle Association (NRA) believes that this or any move to further the gun control effort will eventually lead to confiscation or banning certain weapons and ammunition.

But anyone paying attention is aware of the invalidity of this liberal argument for gun control. Taking guns from law-abiding citizens doesn’t curb crime.  It makes us more vulnerable. We have posted statistic after statistic to prove death by firearm is pretty low on the totem pole of societal problems. The key word in gun control is CONTROL.

Take away the common man’s means of protection and the government has complete control of the common man.  And that’s what this is really about. 

California just passed legislation that will go into effect January 1, 2016 making it very easy to seize your guns by court order.  Here’s a likely scenario:

Kevin owns some weapons. His teenage son wants to borrow the car and Kevin says no since he’s failing High School and should be home studying. Kevin’s son decides to get back at Dad because the LAW (see here) now gives him that latitude.  He calls the cops and says, “I feel unsafe…. my Dad has a gun in the house and…. I feel unsafe”.  So a judge authorizes law enforcement to confiscate all Kevin’s weapons for a minimum of 21 days.  Kevin is treated like a criminal instead of a conscientious parent. He is forced to spend a lot of money on attorney fees to defend himself and restore his good name.  The value of the guns confiscated is less than the cost of fighting the State. The State wins and the guns are destroyed.

Now back to the Executive Order…….One problem with this whole thing is that Obama’s Executive Order isn’t really law at all. Congress makes law, not the POTUS.  The second problem is the majority of our society has no interest or concern as to what the POTUS can or can’t do…… as long as they keep getting “Free Stuff”.  Many of us know there is no such thing as FREE STUFF and we DO CARE about our rights being taken.  The third problem is that Hillary is going to win the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. She’s coming after our guns because, as mentioned, she will then have  total control over our behavior and our 1st Amendment rights.

We live in a society where the majority of the population are TAKERS NOT GIVERS. We have become slowly conditioned to accept the bastardization of this great Nation our fathers and grandfathers fought for so we might be free.  We really don’t know what it’s like to have our Liberty taken away from us.  Remember, Liberty comes from God, not man.  Be prepared to fight to keep it.  If Hillary Clinton wins in 2016 or Congress goes to the Democrats we’ll all get a FREE EDUCATION on the LOSS OF PERSONAL LIBERTY!

 

 

Councilman Lashes Out At Concerned Citizens/Mayor

Back of TCouncilman Wynn Whittington penned a scalding personal attack on the President of the Kinston-Lenoir County Chapter of the NAACP published in the Kinston Free Press (read his words) along with attacks on the Mayor of Kinston, local petition organizer Logan Thurman, and of course quite a bit about me.   Mr. Whittington accuses those questioning his tactics of having too much “free time”.   In his musings, I appear to be the main target and one of those “people who can’t seem to let it go”.   Well, there is plenty of reason we must not “let it go”.

Mayor Murphy hasn’t let it go either, decided he wasn’t going to take the attacks lightly, and posted his opinion and video on his website. Read and view HERE.

Also, before I go too far, VOTE tomorrow, November 3rd.  One Vote is all you need for Steve Ragan.  You can do that, just one vote…..Steve has fought this nepotism deal from the beginning.

Mr. Whittington has been silent on the public dis-rest over his own policy change… until two days before the municipal election.  Conveniently and for political reasons he spoke out clearly in an attempt to moot the argument against the policy change.  The Nepotism Policy Amendment allows family members of City Council members and the Mayor to be employed by the City, breaking a long standing common sense conservative policy against nepotism in the workplace.  Since Councilmember Kelly Jarman is the only incumbent and candidate in the race who supports the Nepotism Policy Amendment, Mr. Whittington could not have timed his “guest column” in a more overtly subversive manner.  The regularly planned City Council meeting for Monday, November 2nd (the night before election day) was cancelled due to lack of agenda items.  So the public has zero opportunity to address Whittington’s comment for comments.  Well done.

Mr. Whittington speaks of all the successes we are having as a City.  He also recognizes the problems we face.   He mentions crime, gang violence, and high utility rates and attempts to minimize the Nepotism issue by stating,  “…the recent nepotism policy debate has garnered more media coverage than the sale of power assets and related rate decreases, the possibility of bringing baseball back to Kinston, and quite possibly the West Pharmaceutical Disaster in 2003″. Uhhh… there’s a reason for that, W!

He also stated that… “the nepotism policy didn’t make the cut in the recent Land Use Plan Study”. No it didn’t because Nepotism policies aren’t part of any Land Use Plan.  As Chairman of the Kinston Planning Board, my fellow planning board members and I reviewed the Land Use Plan (checked it for nepotism) and made recommendations to City Council.  He also stated candidate Gordon Vermillion didn’t agree on the nepotism issue.  What he failed to mention is that of the eight(8) candidates running for three(3) seats on City Council only candidate and fellow educator Kelly Jarman agrees with his views on nepotism since she was one of three votes that amended the policy.  The other seven(7) have agreed to rescind this troubled Amendment if elected. See this VIDEO.

And this quote by Whittington is only confirms that his disdain and lack of respect for public opinion…

“At the recent council candidate forum hosted by the local chapter of the NAACP, each candidate was asked three questions. The very first one was about the nepotism policy. Are you kidding me? Not one question focused on crime, specifically black on black crime!”

Mr. Whittington makes multiple moot points in order to justify his unpopular actions.  His arrogant elitist attitude and obvious disregard for the residents of Kinston are disrespectful to say the least.  In one failed swoop, he insulted the President of the NAACP, two concerned citizens who were exercising their right to redress government, and the Mayor of Kinston because they just “can’t seem to let it go”.

The nepotism issue arose from Mr. Whittington’s line of questioning in City Council surrounding the fact his brother could not be hired because of he was elected to Council.  With very little discussion and no public input Whittington brought a motion to amend the Nepotism Policy.   A few weeks later the amendment was ratified.  He knows, as does Kelly Jarman, that nothing good can come from this amendment.

Allow me Educate the “Educators”……The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states,

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” 

So in reading Mr. Whittington’s column I find it interesting that almost every word is an attempt to stifle our First Amendment rights.  According to him we should all just trust in his wisdom, shut up, sit down and forget about redressing our grievances because he doesn’t want to hear it.  End of conversation.

From Thomas Paine’s “American Crisis” these words were read aloud on December 23, 1776 to the Continental Army as a rally cry prior to the Battle of Trenton:

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

This issue will not go away.  If the voices of the people can be shut down “just like that”, what’s next?  We must be vigilant.  Is it obvious yet that We the People must be the guardians of liberty? That the intent of government, including elected officials, is to serve the people?  It is NOT the intent that WE should serve government.

“Never surrender your rights, never give up, never shut, and keep getting up!” ~ John Nix and the Daily News Fix

“Cronyism, Favoritism, and Nepotism are all bedfellows….”  ~  www.dailynewsfix.org

 

 

 

 

What’s the Disconnect? A Total Disregard For The People’s Will

Councilwoman Kelly Jarman is depending on you to FORGET her misdeeds and total disregard for the people’s will with the recent Nepotism Policy Amendment she helped push through. Some folks will give her a “free pass” for incomprehensible reasons.  She knew the people were adamantly against this policy change but stubbornly ignored the residents of Kinston.  And this is why we fail as a City. We keep electing elitist crony politicians that ignore the real answers to the obvious problems we face. This is not sound reasoning when considering a candidate who will spend a minimum of four (4) years making life changing financial decisions for residents while leading our City. Unqualified elected leaders put an undue burden on all residents of Kinston. Past municipal elections have been a partisan popularity contest.

Jarman is married to Lenoir County manager, Mike Jarman and serves on the Recreation Commission, a joint City/County funded entity. The Recreation Commission has more power than other commissions and boards. They make influential recommendations to City Council on joint spending that rarely go challenged.  This nepotistic arrangement is a big no-no! yet it has existed for the last four years while the public acknowledges the act but gives silent consent through inaction.  After all, holding governmental officials and elected officials accountable is taboo or may offend someone (tongue in cheek).  Read HERE for more detail and HERE for a news column calling for Jarman’s resignation from the Recreation Commission.

We need candidates with knowledge of how the private sector works.  Ms. Jarman’s entire career has been with the school system, her salary paid for through taxes.  Hence, Jarman may be more prone to think of and spend public money as an entitlement.  Those in the private sector understand struggles that Jarman simply cannot. She actually stated that because the school system allows nepotism the City should follow suit.  See this VIDEO.  Of the reasons she gave for allowing nepotism in government, the most incomprehensible was that nepotism will increase our tax base.  No, I’m not kidding! See my blog on the great debate HERE.

Early voting is going on now at the Board of Elections at 110 S. Herritage St. weekdays from 8:30 AM ’til 6:30 PM and closes 8:30 AM ’til 1:00 PM Saturday.  Municipal election day is Tuesday, November 3rd from 6:30 AM ’til 7:30 PM.  This may be the most important and pivotal election in the history of Kinston.  It’s time to elect responsible leadership.  Vote today!

T-Shirts like the one shown above are available for a suggested $10 donation to cover cost. Available in Large and X-Large.  Please send your request to nixcjohn@gmail.com

And They’re Off!…. Candidates Jockey For Lead In Non-Partisan City Council Debate

In a refreshing candidate forum held tonight at St. Augustus AME Zion Church in Kinston, eight(8) candidates for City Council gave their views on how to lead this town of around 20,000. With three(3) seats up for grabs and two incumbents trying to hold onto their seats the forum exposed each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.  Like any candidate forum, there were varying degrees of preparedness and understanding of exactly how a municipality functions.

This was the Second Non-Partisan Municipal election in Kinston since Attorney General Eric Holder pre-cleared Kinston for non-partisan elections after an extensive lawsuit for the reversal of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  See SCOTUS lawsuit Nix v. Holder.  It was pleasing to see a shift in thinking and public consensus.  This debate was hosted by the Kinston-Lenoir County NAACP, a non-partisan group.  The NAACP will not endorse any candidate(s).  It is also reported the Democratic Party will follow suit in not endorsing.  

The same three(3) questions asked of each candidate.  The candidates were:

1) Michael Davis  a Vietnam Veteran   2) Sammy Aiken  incumbent (retired Navy)  3)Gordon Vermillion  business owner & past two term City Councilman  4) Tharol Branch  native Kinstononian  5) Felicia Solomon  former Lenoir County Schools principal  6)  Kelly Jarman  Lenoir County Schools administrator and incumbent  7)  Steve Ragan   Weyerhauser employee and Planning Board member 8)  Lennie Peterson  US Army veteran & Ex School Bus driver

Queston #1 – City Council recently voted to allow family members of Council members and the Mayor to be hired.  Will you vote to reinstate the Nepotism Policy?  If Yes, why.  If No, why.

Six candidates stated they were opposed to this recent action except Kelly Jarman and Michael Davis.  Michael Davis stated he was concerned his children wouldn’t be able to work for the City.  Jarman defended and justified her unpopular voting record on this issue by stating the School System and Military have similar policies, only 30% of the population in Kinston have college degrees so we need to keep jobs opportunities available, and nepotism will increase our tax base.  (This reasoning both confounds and contradicts)

Question #2 – Public Safety Chief Johnson is retiring. What should be done with Public Safety?  (Admittedly the question was misleading and vague.  There has been talk of hiring a Police Chief and a Fire Chief in lieu of one Public Safety Director)

All candidates gave a clear and concise answer and agreed City Council should seek out and hire separate department heads and hire a well qualified Police Chief due to the serious crime problems Kinston is experiencing  except incumbent Kelly Jarman.  She touted the excellent job our current police are doing and public education programs but stated separating the departments would depend on “who we find” to replace Johnson.

Question #3 – What do you foresee for change in Kinston to make it a better place to live and work?  (This was a vague open-ended question.  But there was some common ground with the answers)

Peterson struggled initially but eventually stated we needed jobs and address crime. Ragan connected the fact that our crime issues have a negative effect on our business climate and the desire for industry, businesses, and families to come to Kinston and stay in Kinston.  He stated the only way for us to solve this issue will be a Unifed Effort putting partisan politics aside.   Incumbent Jarman stated our lower utility rates, the promise of baseball coming back to town, the coming Land Use Plan, Queen Street revitalization and enforcing the Unified Development Ordinance will make us better.  Solomon wants us to work together and invoke community responsibility.   She stated we have the “right people at the right time” to solve Kinston’s woes.  Branch stated we need a change in leadership, claimed current leadership has destroyed much African-American historical structures and built an entrance to a Confederate Cemetery after tearing down a popular pool hall.  He charged the Board of Elections with continuing racism and  Jim Crow laws.  Vermillion spoke of his two term experience, the fact that we were the only two time All American City in the country, downtown revitalization and the increase in tourism.  He sees a bright future for Kinston.  Aiken spoke solely of eliminating crime.  Davis wants to change the way we think, educate everyone on gangs, change our entire leadership and stated we are failing as a City and as a people.

After viewing this debate and how these candidates fielded the questions, there is no doubt the “Nepotism issue” could be a deciding factor.  See “One Issue Could Decide Council Race”.   You need to decide for yourself.  Please continue to follow future debates and look for the traditional PodCasts on www.Kinston.com this Thursday with Bryan Hanks and his crew.  We’ll continue to bring you up to date news on the www.dailynewsfix.org.  Use the Subscribe feature to have the “Fix” delivered to your inbox when published.

 

 

One Issue Could Decide Council Race

October 22, 2015 begins One Stop or “early voting” for municipal elections in Lenoir County, NC.  There’s one race that peaks my interest, maybe because it’s so close to home and the outcome will  continue to affect my wallet, my business, my investments, my family, and my way of life as a taxpaying resident of Kinston.  Eight(8) candidates will vie for three(3) seats on the Kinston City Council.  This race has my full attention and for good reason.

Several weeks ago Councilman Wynn Whittington brought an issue to the council floor. He made HIS problem OUR problem.  His brother had applied for a job and was turned down due to his the City’s  nepotism policy.  He wanted to examine the policy for fairness, and through a series of motions and votes the policy was amended three weeks later to the public’s dismay.  I exposed these shenanigans in earlier blog(s) BLOG #1  BLOG#2 and Kinston Free Press column.

Even with over 300 citizens signatures on a petition calling for a NO vote on the amendment, Whittington, Kelly Jarman, and Joe Tyson pushed it through.  Joe Tyson will not run again, Whittington will continue in his elected role for at least two more years, but Kelly Jarman is the lone incumbent in this three seat race to be decided on November 3rd.

Jarman is the wife of Lenoir County Manager, Mike Jarman.  She also serves on the Kinston-Lenoir County Parks and Recreation Commission, a City/County funded board.  This conflict of interest and form of nepotism was pointed out in a news column a few weeks ago in which she was asked to resign from that commission – Read HERE.

Cast an educated vote!  Tuesday, October 13th, the NAACP will be holding a debate at St. Augustus Church, 318 E. North St., Kinston, NC from 6:30PM – 8:00 PM.  Reportedly all candidates will attend.  I feel certain one of the questions will focus on the “Nepotism Policy Amendment”.  If not, they will have missed the mark. Within this one issue lies the key to effective leadership by an elected official ~ Listening to the Will of the People and acting accordingly. 

Each candidate will also have an opportunity to sign a  pledge introduced by resident Logan Thurman at the October 2nd City Council meeting.  The Pledge states that if elected the first order of business will be to reverse this misguided policy change.   We’ll report an eyewitness account of this debate and where these candidates stand on this most important single issue and!  Stay tuned….

 

Jarman Is No Nepotism Novice

Last week I wrote a News Fix blog making a case as to why Kelly Jarman, a City Councilwoman, should resign from a commission she serves on.  I never published the blog but instead the Kinston Free Press published a version of it in the Thursday edition on September 17, 2015. Read the Free Press column here:  Guest Column – Councilwoman Should Remove Herself From Board

The Recreation Commission wields a lot of power.  With her husband, Mike Jarman, serving as the Lenoir County Manager, Kelly Jarman’s appointment to this committee creates a conflict of interest mainly because the Kinston-Lenoir County Parks and Recreation Department is jointly funded with the City bearing brunt of the fiscal burden.   There’s no doubt nepotism is a problem in this working/private blended relationship.  Elitists will brush this aside as trivial.  In fact, they already did when this was brought up in a public forum prior to Kelly Jarman being elected.   Really none of this would have come up had Ms. Jarman not been one of the three that brought about the amendment to the City’s Nepotism policy.  For a little background read:

Blog #1                             Blog #2                                 Petition

Writing a column or a blog is eye opening but following through on those words is a completely different animal.  I don’t suspect Councilwoman Jarman has any plans to resign just because I suggested it was a good idea.  Her circle of friends will see no wrong in the current arrangement.  I suspect her church family, family members, and good friends have already blown right past the meat of the issue and will insist “she’s done nothing wrong”.   Well, guess what,  I hope there has been no influence or information sharing flowing from Mike to Kelly or from Kelly to Mike.  In fact, I have not once suggested either one are corrupt or would even consider doing wrong.

Under the current arrangement the door is wide open for either one, or both, to carry out “insider trading”, if you will.   By isolating the weakness in the dam, my hopes are to plug the leaks before it breaks.   A huge window for discussion has now opened up and discussion will ensue.   As a precautionary measure, Kelly Jarman should be removed from the Recreation Commission and be reappointed to another board that is not jointly funded by the City and the County.

City Nepotism Policy Up For Debate

During the August 3rd, 2015 Kinston City Council meeting, Councilman Wynn Whittington brought up for discussion the City’s nepotism policy.  The current City policy reads:

Sec. 2-140. – Employment of relatives

“The hiring of a relative of the city manager, personnel director, or of the mayor or any member of the city council after his election or appointment and during his term of office is prohibited. Likewise, no person shall be hired or assigned to work under the administrative influence or supervision of a relative, nor shall any employee’s relative be hired without prior written approval of the city manager. “Relative” means wife, husband, mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, grandmother, grandfather, grandson, granddaughter and also step, half and in-law relationships.” 

See the entire breakout starting at page 66 HERE.

Mr. Whittington’s brother, upon application, was not hired due to this long time policy.  The policy is now being challenged by Mr. Whittington with at least two other Council members considering his argument valid.  Opinion aside, this is and was policy when Whittington’s relative applied for the job.  For this Council member to make this a personal issue and bring it before the body and the public not only puts the rest of Council and the City Manager in an uncomfortable spot but illustrates the very reason why the Nepotism Policy exists.

The City Manager was asked to do a comparative study of towns in the state that had similar policies and the results were neither a help or a hindrance.  However the discussion led to Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem recommending the HR Director draft a new, less stringent, policy that would include “direct supervision” language. The Mayor has been a vocal opponent of an amendment. By inserting “direct supervision” language the desired effect is to nullify the City Council and Mayor portion of the current policy allowing relatives access to employment. That portion of the amended version reads:

“The initial employment of relatives of the mayor or any member of the city council after his/her election or appointment and during his/her term of office is permitted, provided there is not a direct or indirect reporting relationship.”  (See page 16 HERE)

I ask the Council members not  to miss the point.  The entire reasoning behind a nepotism policy is to eliminate the possibility of those with power or influence to show favoritism of their relatives. Without an effective nepotism policy, even if there’s no favoritism, at minimum that perception by other employees will always exist.  The Mayor and City Council members simply have too much influence, direct or indirect, over department heads.  So, if the brother of a City Council member were insubordinate, the department head may be apprehensive to deal with that insubordination out of fear of retribution by said Council member.  Conversely, when a relative of an elected official is up of hire the department head may feel beholden to hire the relative or even fear not to.

The City Council meets at 7:00 PM on Monday, August 17th.  Public comments will be heard early in the agenda attached HERE.  You may also come early for the work session at 5:30 PM.  Make your concerns heard.  Don’t be one to ask, “What are they going to do about it?”…… YOU are THEY!

Write a letter to the editor.  Since this will most like go to vote on Monday, the  letters to the editor are due Thursday, 8/13/15.  Send them to jennifer.shrader@kinston.com and the Kinston Free Press.

You may also write your Council Members directly at  council@ci.kinston.nc.us