Newly Elected Republican County Commissioners Doug Bridges, Deb Hardin and Ronnie Whetstine have the blessing of a record turnout of the voters in Cleveland County to take over the Commissioner Board and do what is right for ALL the citizens instead of just the select few. These Commissioners have been validated as no set of Commissioners have been validated in the 21st Century. Maybe even the 20th Century too. But they have record problems too. Lots of things need to be changed. So, they should hit the ground running as soon as they get sworn in.
The direction they should be running in is Conservative values, fiscal responsibility, reforming a failed education system, be beneficial to all citizens of Cleveland County and not just a few. And be transparent in everything. We have some suggestions.
The following is an outline of our suggested and comprehensive Plan of Action: Commissioners, we are watching you!!! Term limits are in the people’s hands and we know it now. And 2020 will be another record voter turnout. Another “Red Wave” If necessary.
1. Selecting q new Chairman and Vice Chairman:
The first order of business is selecting a new Commissioner Board Chairman and Vice Chairman. We recommend Doug Bridges for Chairman and Deb Hardin for Vice-Chairman. Doug, the top vote getter, and Deb were just elected to four-year terms and will be less likely to be influenced by election year politics in the coming two years as they will not face re-election until 2022. Ronnie Whetstine was just elected to a two-year term to fill out the vacancy created by the death of former commissioner Ronnie Hawkins. Johnny Hutchins and Susan Allen, along with Ronnie Whetstine will all face re-election in 2020. Doug Bridges as Chairman and Deb Hardin as Vice Chairman will ensure Commissioner stability through the next record turnout during the 2020 Presidential Election year when Whetstine, Hutchins and Allen face re-election. It may be likely that Hutchins and Allen may not seek re-election in 2020 as they are linked to the Eddie Holbrook debacle that is just coming to light. In fact, I call on Johnny Hutchins and Susan Allen to resign and allow true conservative commissioners be appointed to take their place in the reorganization and redirection of failing Cleveland County agencies that is overdue in happening.
Then, with a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman, run your business in an open and ethical manner in accordance with State law. No more shenanigans or secrets. We have no more Hospitals to sell cheap.
2. Begin the process of reviewing top level County Administration Personnel:
There are a number of failings in County Administration that violate State law or are problems in other areas. Such as bringing down lawsuits on Cleveland County. Another big failure for Cleveland County is in Public Record storage and refusal to provide public information to citizens when requested as required by law. The top of this list is for the new Commissioner majority to demand, upon penalty of termination, that County staff immediately produce the requested information regarding the issue of a county check for $1 million allegedly written to a County Commissioner personally with no authority granted in a public meeting. Then a decision must be made regarding criminal charges or other disciplinary action necessary to match the infraction.
3. Begin the process of evaluating the financial situation of the following for continued financial support; or County Approval in the case of the Casino:
• The American League World Series,
• The Cleveland County Fair,
• The Shooting Range,
• The LeGrand Center,
• The Proposed Catawba Indian Casino,
• The Earl Scruggs Center,
• The Don Gibson Theater, etc.
• The Economic Development Partnership
• Communities In Schools
• Math Academy
• Women’s Commission
• Any related Foundations
Note that any agency or group noted above or that receives county funding that refuses to make their financial records open for public inspection shall be refused any further financial assistance of any kind or amount.
Enlist citizens input-not limited to three minutes regarding this evaluation.
4. Begin the process to “Un-Merge” the Cleveland County School District.
Note that the controversial “merger” has not resulted in any cost savings and the performance of CCS schools has not improved even though funding has increased significantly.
5. Reduce the Cleveland Community College Board of Trustee Membership:
From 12 members down to five or seven members effective immediately. Cleveland County Commissioners shall appoint 75% of the BoT membership.
6. Require Cleveland Community College and Cleveland County Schools, merged or unmerged, to:
• Evaluate excessive top-heavy staffing at high pay levels and reduce where appropriate.
• Require that students attend the closest school in their district unless exempted for good reason.
• Develop and Implement integrated Workforce development plans, with curricula from first grade through CCC.
• Use success from Charter School-Pinnacle Classical Academy- staff and administration methods and practices as a model for the expected high achievement and increased student performance as well as cost effectiveness.
7. Develop immediately a truly integrated County system for the following:
• Law Enforcement-Criminal
• Law Enforcement-Civil Process
• Fire Protection
• Water AND Sewage sanitary services
• Solid Waste management
8. Develop immediately County-Wide policies and regulations that:
• Illegal Immigrants must be identified and reported to the proper authorities for the appropriate legal actions. No “Sanctuary” locations shall be allowed within the boundaries of Cleveland County.
• English is the official language in Cleveland County Schools and all other County agencies.
• All North Carolina General Statutes and Federal Laws passed under the US Constitutional shall be enforced equally throughout Cleveland County. No exceptions!
• Sharia Law is null and void within the borders of Cleveland County.
• All County Agencies shall begin every official Board Meeting with a Pledge of Allegiance and a Prayer.
• All County Agency’s official meetings, to enhance transparency, shall include citizens participation in every action where a vote of the Board is required. This is in addition to other State laws that provide minimum standards for citizen’s participation.
• Provisions must be made that all county agency Board Meetings be video taped and such video tapes are made official public records. Such public records must be made using standard and readily available formats that will be made available to the public.
9. Develop immediately a citizen’s complaint, investigation and resolution registry that:
• Tracks every complaint made against any county agency and any county employee.
• Shows the person making the complaint, the complaint date, the investigation of the complaint, who investigated, who interviewed and recommended resolution
• The person making the complaint will have the ability to add comments, rebuttals, etc. prior to the complaint recommended resolution.
• The person making the complaint shall have the ability to appeal any recommended resolution to the full Board of the agency.
• The person making the complaint shall have the ability to appeal the recommended resolution to the full Board of Commissioners in OPEN Session
• The Full Board of County Commissioners shall vote to approve the recommended resolution or approve their own resolution to the complaint.
10. Appoint a Citizens Advisory Board to hear and decide issues of ethical and conflicts of interests:
• Such a board shall NOT include lawyers or members who are county officials or employees or benefit financially from any business relations with Cleveland County. Or related in any way to any commissioner.
• Such a board will decide whether or not there is an “appearance” of an ethics or conflict of interest with any Commissioner or County employee as related to the issue.
• The decision of this Board will be final and any person found to be in an ethical violation or in a conflict of interest situation shall be barred from voting on the issue.
• Any vote a person has made that is found in violation shall be made null and void and the issue brought back before the board of commissioners. If the full Board of Commissioners has been tainted by the person with the violation, the Citizens Advisory Board shall affect a decision on whether or not the Board’s decision is valid and shall direct the resolution.