Turmoil Can’t be Good for Faith in Government - TribPapers

Turmoil Can’t be Good for Faith in Government

Photo by Brett Jordan.

Madison County – I first told the Weaverville Town Council, and then the Woodfin Town Commissioners, in commentaries last year that I’m not a fan of appointing people to the boards close to an election. Weaverville has gotten away with it twice, once with Jeff McKenna and then with John Chase.

Woodfin Dilemma

And now, Woodfin’s appointment has come back to bite them (see story page 2). In my October commentary to Woodfin, I wrote, “With only days left until the November election, the Woodfin Board of Commissioners filed a seat on the board left vacant by Commissioner Don Honeycutt, whom Woodfin Mayor Jerry VeHaun said resigned for health reasons. Honeycutt had two years left on his term and the commissioners filled it with Teresa Stoker, from the town’s planning and zoning board, who was sworn into the empty seat at their October’s meeting.”

Now, Stoker’s appointment has been voided because of a technical error (again, see story page 2). Stoker told the Tribune that it was Commissioners Jim McAllister and Eric Edgerton that instigated the lawsuit against her appointment, going as far as to say, “They even met with a dear friend of mine and asked him to file the lawsuit…but he wouldn’t do it saying, ‘She is a friend of mine.” The friend, who wished to remain anonymous, has denied Stoker’s allegation saying, “ I have been misquoted. And, worse, alleged to have said things I did not say.” 

The friend did say something that rang true in replying to the Tribune, “I have no intention of getting involved in this mess.” That’s right, it’s a mess.

Because of this, Woodfin now has two commissioners who have not thought enough of the commissioner seats to either run for office or serve on a board with the town. It will be interesting to see how they govern. Most likely, they will govern how they are told.

I believe my recommendation to Weaverville and Woodfin was to wait until after the election and then fill the vacant seats with the next highest vote-getters. In this way, these candidates will have already expressed interest in being on the board by running, rather than appointing someone who is just doing a favor for a friend and filling an empty seat.

I certainly hope this new board can give a new positive direction after the not-so-comical errors of the five months. Errors in procedures have plagued the board the last few months, mainly in its actions toward zoning, and now in appointing Stoker. The turmoil can’t be good for Woodfin residents’ faith in their government.

Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Vickie Hollifield is running for the Madison County School Board. She attends meetings and does not like what she sees when it comes to following the law and rules (see article page 4).

Hollifield says she is running because of “true history being neglected, parental input is being ignored, laws being broken without consequences, a lack of accountability and teachers seemingly ignored or targeted because of their viewpoints.” She also said kids couldn’t do normal math with the current curriculum.

Asked about her goals as a member of the school board, Hollifield replied, “Reestablish trust with the parents, students, staff and community. Ensure that we are being as transparent as possible and following open meeting laws. Holding all members of the school accountable and doing regular checks and seeing our students improve and be more prepared to think and research on their own.”

However, even if Hollifield is elected to the school board, the rest of the school board goes along with the status quo. She will need help in changing the school board’s direction. In other words, like-minded residents willing to run for a seat on the board who can help change the course of the board. Otherwise, she will just be a voice crying out in the wilderness.

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