To the Editor:
Having just recently read the front page article in The Daily Southerner regarding Councilman Shepheard’s issues with the Tarboro town manager, I was left with more questions than answers.
The article states that Mr. Shepheard’s reasons for not voting in favor of extending the town manager’s contract had to do with “deplorable conditions of three town facilities, Thornton’s hiring practices and giving the council what he said was false information.” That’s it. That’s all the information we were given.
What facilities are in deplorable condition? Did he say? Was he asked?
What about the hiring practices? Anyone doing the interview pursue that? Certainly sounds newsworthy to me.
And the town manager gave false information to the council? Do we need to get a copy of another newspaper to find out about that? Is that to be the subject of another story? Probably not. Asking questions just doesn’t seem to be the thing to do here in Tarboro.
The article then goes on in an apparent attempt to discredit Councilman Shepheard by presenting statements from three other council members and the town manager. In fact, it seems more time was spent on trying to discredit Mr. Shepheard than was spent on his concerns.
Two of the three council members mentioned in the article were on the council when they voted unanimously to hire the current manager without a proper background investigation. They didn’t even know he had been asked to resign by the council of his two previous places of employment. All that came to light after a simple web inquiry using a web search engine AFTER the manager had already been hired. So, there is a history with most of this council of NOT asking questions. Too bad Mr. Shepheard wasn’t around for
that. It may have saved us all a lot of trouble.
So, I guess we can’t rely on most of our council to ask questions or our local newspaper to inform us about the conditions of our facilities. Since I’m retired and have the opportunity to ride around our town on occasion, I’ve already seen the crime scene tape and saw horse on the diving boards at our swimming pools, the grass growing in a tennis court (which they finally cut ... no I’m not kidding), the locked restrooms at our parks (where do you think the kids are going to use the restroom?) and the rust-covered chain
link fencing at nearly all town facilities.
The people of Tarboro used to take pride in their town. We expected excellence from our elected officials, from our town administrators and employees. Now we have a manager who has a troubled history of management and some department heads who won’t even move their families to town. But Mr. Shepheard is the bad guy in all this. Well, not in my opinion. I’m wondering why the rest of the council doesn’t have the same concerns and aren’t asking the same questions! I think we can, and should, do better.
(EDITOR’S NOTE : Mr. Benson is a candidate for the Ward 1 council seat.)