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Albemarle Tradewinds March 2018 Web OPT

March Edition of the Albemarle Tradewinds Magazine

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Letter from a concerned citizen in Perquimans County There are upcoming elections, and the Sheriff is one of those offices which is chosen by the people – I.E. voted into offi ce. In fact, according to the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association: “The Office of Sheriff is an office provided for by the North Carolina Constitution. Sheriffs occupy an elected offi ce just like the Governor, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Attorney General, and numerous other elected offi cers. In the “chain of command,” elected offi - cers report solely to the citizens within their jurisdiction. There is no such entity as a sheriff’s department. In county government, you will often fi nd a Health Department, Human Services Department, Finance Department, Information Services and Technology Department, and Parks and Recreation Department. The head of each of these departments is not an elected offi cial but is an appointed employee of the county who is hired by and supervised by the county manager. Unfortunately, the Office of Sheriff is often erroneously referred to as a sheriff’s department. Doing so is as incorrect as referring to the Department of Governor instead of the Office of Governor.” This is by design – it enables the VOTERS to determine who will be the “Chief Law enforcement Offi cer of the County” and it is literally our constitutional right to choose our own sheriff. For those that don’t know – Perquimans County held a commissioner’s meeting last night. This would seem unusual since yesterday was a National Holiday – President’s day. The public portion of the meeting was brief, but interesting to say the least. It all seemed rather straightforward UNTIL the chairman, Mr. Wallace Nelson brought up item b) Reduction in Sheriff’s Salary after election. First off, there appeared to be a little confusion as to what the commissioners were about to vote on. The county Manager, Mr. Frank Heath, spoke up, saying it was state law and they had to vote on this. This provoked Mr. Nelson to concur; he too seemed to mistakenly believe it was a requirement. That is when I noticed a gentleman in the third row of the audience shaking his head “No” vehemently. Non-the-less, Mr. Joseph Hoffl er made a motion, and Mr. Edward Muzzulin seconded it. The resolution carried 5-0, with Mr. Kyle Jones being absent from the meeting. Do you have a local story to tell? Send it in to br549@modernmedianow.com and we may print it. Please, no red team - blue team politics. But if you see something that citizens need to know, send it in. At the conclusion, came time for public comments. The gentleman who was wildly shaking his head got up to speak. He asked why the pay is reduced for anyone who is elected to the position of Sheriff except Sheriff White? The gentleman pointed out that this undermines the will of the people when the commissioners effectively say – “Anybody elected by the people OTHER THAN Sherriff White will be paid $49,181/year, approximately 31% less than the present sheriff”. Mr. Nelson attempted to answer the gentleman when the county manager, Mr. Heath, said this was not question and answer time, it was public comment time, and they would not answer why this was so. This got me to thinking as well. I observed all this and thought – yes – this is strange. The commissioners literally just raised the pay of the county sheriff last month, but now they say if we the people elect a different sheriff utilizing our rights as citizens of North Carolina – they will pay him/her less. Sheriff White’s brand new pay package is $64,338/ year; a full 30% more than anybody else that may be elected to the offi ce. The gentleman said that no matter whom the voters pick – even a very highly qualifi ed candidate, this vote means they will pay him less than the handpicked candidate – Sheriff White. Remember – Sheriff White has never been elected – he was appointed by the commissioners last year. Is this nepotism? Are the County Commissioners PURPOSELY trying to dissuade candidates from running against their handpicked candidate? Did the County manager PURPOSE- LY manipulate the commissioners by telling them they had to do this now? And fi nally – does it foster a “Good ol’ boys” network when they actively try to discourage outside talent from seeking offi ce in our community? Why did Mr. Heath shut down Mr. Nelson when the gentleman asked why? It’s true – it was not question and answer time, but I have seen commissioners answer questions during public comments before. I suppose none of this REALLY matters. As of this writing, no-one is running against Sheriff White anyway. Besides, I am an optimist by nature, and like to see the best in people. I want to think neither Mr. Heath nor any of the commissioners is actually trying to undermine our rights as citizens. But it does make one take some time out to think, and think hard – something I don’t normally do after leaving a Commissioner or Town hall meeting. Yours truly, Concerned Citizen All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl. - Charlie Chaplin Winslow Accounting 857 Halstead Blvd. PO Box 2386 Elizabeth City, NC 27909 Joseph S. Winslow, Jr. Professional Financial Planner Accredited Tax Preparer Experience helping small businesses since 1973 N.C. Society of Accountants National Society of Accountants winslowacct@gmail.com Janet’s Flea Market & Flowers Wed. - Sat 9 -5 Thousands of items Sun 11:30 - 5 New Items Daily Mon & Tues - Call Something for Everyone 201 Main St South Mills Free Layaway! 252-771-5214 facebook.com/AlbemarleTradingPost Albemarle Tradewinds March 2018 19 252-335-1619 Fax: 252-335-0540