Watchdog Report- Craven County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Held on 4 August 2014, 7:00 PM
This meeting was certainly interesting. I’m glad to say that many folks attended. Most wanted to know what the government was going to do about their problems like flooding due to the heavy rains or pet projects like libraries, but everyone was nice to each other, and it was good to see the room nearly full at a CCBOC’s meeting.
First, let me tell you what happened about my petition that I wrote about to you yesterday. I added a short comment about the “incentive” pay of about $30,000 to the Health Department dentist on top of her salary (salary not disclosed at the meeting) based on the “profit” earned. Incidentally, the “profit” is made by charging such taxpayer financed programs as Medicaid, Medicare, WIC, etc. I suggested that the dental operation be privatized.
The resolution to remove Craven County from NCEast Alliance and request any money due the county from NCEast Alliance was passed. GREAT! We worked hard and long for that. Bill Harper, Mark Griffin, and Michael Speciale were key players in that effort.
Friendly Medical Transportation’s application to advance to “paramedic Level” was approved. Stanley Kite, Emergency Services Director, explained that although he agreed that the financial solvency of the company was questionable, their service provided would be monitored by state regulators and Craven County would not be exposed to risk by allowing them to perform the service. In fact, the new status will enable them to charge more for transporting patients and thereby increase the profitability of their operations (never mind that the taxpayer again will be picking up most of the tab through good ole Medicaid, Medicare, and other “programs”). Attorney, Jimmy Hicks, agreed.
THE BIGGEST BOMBS CAME NEAR THE END OF THE MEETING. At the beginning of his report, County Manager, Jack Veit, passed copies of a letter to each of the Commissioners (no one else), and said time was short (understatement) but it needed to be acted on. HERE IS A LINK TO A COPY OF THE LETTER. First you will note that the letter is addressed “To Whom It May Concern” at the Special Application Center, US Dept. of Housing and Urban Affairs. Jack said the letter did not endorse the City of New Bern’s plan to demolish some of the housing units ( I have since read that the number is roughly 100 units); however, if you read the first paragraph it certainly implies an endorsement. The letter refers to the proposed “Craven Terrace Demolition and Disposition” application. A copy of this application was not provided. The letter also refers to the United Stated (their typo, not mine) Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines. No specific reference that could be checked.
This letter goes on to state that the “County’s support expressed in the letter (did he mean this letter?) does not make it a party to the rehabilitation. Is “support” not an endorsement? The letter states, “The Authority has advised Craven County, to the extent necessary, on its proposed demolition and disposition plan.” WHAT THE HECK IS THE EXTENT NECESSARY? The letter goes on to say that the “proposed activities by the Authority are consistent with the overall growth plan for Craven County.” THE COMMISSIONERS HAVE HAD NO TIME TO REVIEW THE “OVERALL GROWTH PLAN.” In fact, the county has no plan by that name.
This is indeed sloppy work. Wisely, the Board of Commissioners decided to hold off until a committee had time to look into the matter and the committee was appointed. This because the county manager was in such a hurry to get the letter out it couldn’t wait for another meeting of the full Board of Commissioners. Why?
Next, during Commissioners reports, Commissioner Sampson informed the other commissioners and the public that a “GRANT” ( I hate that word) had been applied for to train prisoners in jail to qualify for a job. It’s called “Re-entry Program.” (Program is another word I have learned to hate.) Oh, joy. Now we will have “job ready” people murdering, raping, stealing, and molesting folks. What ever happened to prison being punishment for committing a crime, and a deterrent to convince them not to do it again?
Finally, Commissioner Dacey had a revelation about the School Board being accessed a fine of $255,000. That is 10% of the $2.55 Million received by the Craven County School Board to use to offset the expense of education of service members’ children. The fine was assessed by the Obama administration for failure to fill out the request forms properly by the time it was required. In an effort to have the funds restored, Congressman Walter Jones wrote a letter asking that the funds be restored in which he stated that the Craven County Board of Commissioners had reduced the amount of funding for the School Board. As Scott stated on the Phil Knight show this morning, Scott later learned that the wording of the letter had been provided by the Craven County School Board, and he was furious. Scott flatly stated that this was a lie, that the school funding has not been cut by the Board of Commissioners. On the radio show, Scott also recounted that he had asked for an accounting of the School Board’s effort to raise the level of reading ability of students by the end of the third grade, and he has still had no answer to that question. He referred to “issue after issue” with the School Board and hoped Chairman Ipock would provide some answers at the 18 August 2014 Board of Commissioners meeting which members of the Board of Education have agreed to attend. (I expect Kim Fink, Chairman of CCTA’s Common Core Committee, committee members, and other CCTA members, plus the people who are now studying the new approach for teaching Advanced Placement U.S. History with Kim will also want to be present.) On the show, when Phil asked if the Superintendent of Schools should not also be held accountable, Scott had no comment.
Also on the radio show Commissioner Dacey told of CCTA’s support for the resolution removing Craven County from NCEast Alliance.
Commissioner Dacey did not mention that I had suggested “privatizing” the mobile dental operation. He did say someone had suggested that be done, and said that he thought the incentive agreement portion of the dentist’s contract was a good first step in that direction. I was glad to hear him express approval of the idea.
Watchdog Committee Chairman