The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 4, 2013

Letter to the Editor:


TARBORO — Letter to the Editor:

It was brought to my attention today that Mayor Priscilla Oates has planted seeds of doubt about my character and that concerns me deeply. I was told this morning that she blames me personally for her current state of affairs and I find that to be ridiculous. Contrary to what Princeville Mayor Priscilla Oates may have told people, I do not have any knowledge of papers being removed from the Town Hall to indicate that she has committed any wrongdoing. Just like the rest of you, I had to rely on information from the N.C. Local Government Commission who had the obligation to go into the Town and investigate financial instability on the part of a local government agency.

 I have never owned a key to the Princeville Town Hall or requested to be let in by any individual. Therefore, it is very concerning to me that the mayor would put this derogatory information out in the street with my name attached to it. Why would I, an Edgecombe County Commissioner, want to be involved that closely with what goes on with the Town of Princeville. I was not elected to serve on the Town of Princeville Board of Commissioners so how would I have access to any of their financial records.

Yes, I do keep a written record (minutes) of every meeting I attend because that’s how I was trained as a reporter. No one has ever asked me for my notes but should they, I would gladly share them.

All of the information I have been privileged to review came from the N.C. Auditor’s Office when the investigation was completed. I was only privy to this information at that time as a member of the N.C. Local Government Commission which I served proudly for the last 4 years. The information was presented to us as a board and was given to the press.

I find it outrageous that the Mayor of Princeville and or her friends or constituents would believe that I had a “hand” in her having to face charges. Why? Ask yourselves, why. The Mayor and I have never been friends but nor would I consider her my enemy. I really don’t think about the Mayor that much in my daily walk. My charge as a commissioner and member of the N.C. Local Government Commission was to make sure that all citizens were given accurate information concerning the financial status of their town. The mayor’s personal or private business is definitely none of my business. You can’t believe everything you read and you certainly can’t believe everything you hear. Should anyone have a question for me or need an explanation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Commissioner Viola Harris