The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

July 16, 2012

To the Editor

County commissioner, LGC member counters claims in Oates’ letter To the Editor: This letter is in response to the Letter to the Editor from the Town of Princeville Administration. I would like the citizens of Princeville to know the real truth. For the last 12 years I have served as an Edgecombe County Commissioner representing the citizens in Princeville, Speed, Conetoe and parts of Tarboro to the best of my ability. I have attended leadership classes, traveled to conferences and attended town and county meetings across the state in order to learn how to better serve my constituents. I believe I have done what has been asked of me for all of the citizens, not just a select few. The letter from Mayor Oates and Commissioners Andrews and Sherrod indicates that I have assisted other members of the board and residents to cause problems. That is a blatant lie. I have asked the town’s administration to allow me to advocate for them in my capacity as a county commissioner. I was told by the mayor that I could NOT speak before the board because I was not a citizen. SHE refused my help and actually told me to “mind my own business.” When Gov. Beverly Perdue appointed me to the Local Government Commission four years ago, I accepted because I knew it would give me an opportunity to serve the citizens of Edgecombe County on a higher level. The LGC has a job to do to make sure that all municipalities take care of its financial structure so that citizens receive the services they deserve as taxpayers. I have attended Princeville town meetings, under this administration as well as the previous administrations, because of my concern for the people who live there especially the senior citizens. My mother lived in Princeville for many years and enjoyed being a part of that community. I’ve maintained my relationships over there with the seniors in her honor. Let’s get the record straight. I did not get Princeville into debt. I did not set the tax rate or water rates for Princeville. I did not hire an attorney that the town could not afford. I did not allow some citizens to make “installment payments” on water/sewer bills until the bills got out of hand. I did not transfer funds from one fund to another without proper financial guidance. I did not fire the town manager. I did not hire an interim town manager with no experience. I did not maintain a finance officer who could not be bonded. I did not fire the police chief. I did not pay the town’s water bills and trash bills late. I did not deny the LGC access to records. I did not misplace files which were needed to complete an audit. I did not hire and continue to pay a grant writer who has not completed a grant over the last THREE years. I did not have the senior citizens water delivery stopped. I had absolutely nothing to do with the election of Princeville’s administration. What I have done is offer my assistance, attend meetings, and be a sounding board for citizens. I attend the meetings because Princeville is a major part of my district. I have also attended meetings in Tarboro, Speed, Conetoe and have never been asked to leave the meeting or not allowed to speak if I had something of interest to share with the citizens of those towns. Therefore, how is it a conflict of interest for me to do what I was elected to do 12 years ago by the citizens in District 2? I don’t just represent the citizens of Edgecombe County on the second Monday night of each month. I represent all of the citizens in the county 365 days a year. I am not against anyone but I am in favor of all citizens who live in Edgecombe County getting the services they deserve as taxpayers. Therefore, I seconded the motion to issue the warning to the Town of Princeville after looking over all of the documents presented to the board. This is why I was appointed to serve on the LGC. I voted in favor of the LGC sending experienced staff into the town to look at the town’s finances and to help them get back on track since the town’s administration doesn’t seem to have the experience or staff to do it on its own. All I want for the Town of Princeville is for it to survive and continue to thrive. I want the town to be seen in a positive light, not a negative one. I have relatives and friends who live in Princeville. I proudly represent Princeville and all of the citizens who live in District 2 on the Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners. I will fight for all of them. I don’t have a personal vendetta against any of the commissioners on Princeville’s board or its administration. If you want to blame me for anything, please let it be for being concerned and interested in what happens to the citizens of Princeville. Viola S. Harris Egecombe Co. Commissioner District 2 Committee Member, Local Government Commission

FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
SUBMITTED

TARBORO — County commissioner, LGC member

counters claims in Oates’ letter



To the Editor:


This letter is in response to the Letter to the Editor from the Town of Princeville Administration. I would like the citizens of Princeville to know the real truth.

For the last 12 years I have served as an Edgecombe County Commissioner representing the citizens in Princeville, Speed, Conetoe and parts of Tarboro to the best of my ability. I have attended leadership classes, traveled to conferences and attended town and county meetings across the state in order to learn how to better serve my constituents. I believe I have done what has been asked of me for all of the citizens, not just a select few.

The letter from Mayor Oates and Commissioners Andrews and Sherrod indicates that I have assisted other members of the board and residents to cause problems. That is a blatant lie. I have asked the town’s administration to allow me to advocate for them in my capacity as a county commissioner. I was told by the mayor that I could NOT speak before the board because I was not a citizen. SHE refused my help and actually told me to “mind my own business.”

When Gov. Beverly Perdue appointed me to the Local Government Commission four years ago, I accepted because I knew it would give me an opportunity to serve the citizens of Edgecombe County on a higher level. The LGC has a job to do to make sure that all municipalities take care of its financial structure so that citizens receive the services they deserve as taxpayers.

I have attended Princeville town meetings, under this administration as well as the previous administrations, because of my concern for the people who live there especially the senior citizens. My mother lived in Princeville for many years and enjoyed being a part of that community. I’ve maintained my relationships over there with the seniors in her honor.

Let’s get the record straight.

I did not get Princeville into debt. I did not set the tax rate or water rates for Princeville. I did not hire an attorney that the town could not afford. I did not allow some citizens to make “installment payments” on water/sewer bills until the bills got out of hand. I did not transfer funds from one fund to another without proper financial guidance. I did not fire the town manager. I did not hire an interim town manager with no experience. I did not maintain a finance officer who could not be bonded. I did not fire the police chief. I did not pay the town’s water bills and trash bills late. I did not deny the LGC access to records. I did not misplace files which were needed to complete an audit. I did not hire and continue to pay a grant writer who has not completed a grant over the last THREE years. I did not have the senior citizens water delivery stopped. I had absolutely nothing to do with the election of Princeville’s administration.

What I have done is offer my assistance, attend meetings, and be a sounding board for citizens. I attend the meetings because Princeville is a major part of my district. I have also attended meetings in Tarboro, Speed, Conetoe and have never been asked to leave the meeting or not allowed to speak if I had something of interest to share with the citizens of those towns. Therefore, how is it a conflict of interest for me to do what I was elected to do 12 years ago by the citizens in District 2? I don’t just represent the citizens of Edgecombe County on the second Monday night of each month. I represent all of the citizens in the county 365 days a year.

I am not against anyone but I am in favor of all citizens who live in Edgecombe County getting the services they deserve as taxpayers.  Therefore, I seconded the motion to issue the warning to the Town of Princeville after looking over all of the documents presented to the board. This is why I was appointed to serve on the LGC. I voted in favor of the LGC sending experienced staff into the town to look at the town’s finances and to help them get back on track since the town’s administration doesn’t seem to have the experience or staff to do it on its own. All I want for the Town of Princeville is for it to survive and continue to thrive. I want the town to be seen in a positive light, not a negative one. I have relatives and friends who live in Princeville. I proudly represent Princeville and all of the citizens who live in District 2 on the Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners. I will fight for all of them. I don’t have a personal vendetta against any of the commissioners on Princeville’s board or its administration. If you want to blame me for anything, please let it be for being concerned and interested in what happens to the citizens of Princeville.

Viola S. Harris

Egecombe Co. Commissioner

District 2

Committee Member,

Local Government Commission