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Calabash commissioners need to work together

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Calabash commissioners, if your board remains as divided as it has appeared to be in the last couple of weeks, town business is going to go nowhere fast.

At a recent meeting, three of you removed yourselves from your seats and moved into the audience, trying to prove the point you wouldn’t be part of a discussion in which you were in disagreement.

Is that what you were elected to do? Did your Calabash constituents elect you to remove yourselves from debates, or did they vote expecting you to follow proper meeting procedures where you discuss the issues at hand professionally?

We understand the Unified Development Ordinance is a hot topic. In light of the public outcry against it, it’s good to continue a healthy debate and exchange ideas on it, but wouldn’t doing that in a professional manner be the right—and mature—way to handle the situation?

This is not the playground, and you don’t get to pick up your toys and go home when you don’t like what’s going on.

As elected representatives of the people of Calabash, it is imperative each of you serve your roles dutifully—whether you agree with the business on the table or not. When matters are being discussed, talk about them courteously.

A public meeting is not the place to attack one another; it’s the place where dialogue should be exchanged all the while moving toward making decisions that best affect the people of Calabash.

When discussion is over—and clearly the UDO needs a lot more discussion—vote appropriately. Not in favor of something on the table? Talk about it; then vote against it. Feel passionately about something being considered? Express that and vote for it. But do not attempt to remove yourself from your official role. Without an adjournment, you’re still an elected official, no matter which chair you’re sitting in.

And what is the cost of such behavior to the community? Where is the rationale behind a board standing so divided on issues that community progress comes to a halt?

The UDO may have sparked this, but it appears the division between members is much more deeply rooted, and if it’s not resolved soon, Calabash may end up in turmoil.

As the division between members has escalated in recent weeks, we now call upon you to work toward resolving the personal issues that prohibit you from best serving the needs of all of those in your community.

If this is not something you can resolve on your own, call upon a mediator to help. The North Carolina League of Municipalities may be a good place to start. It might also be a good time to set up a meeting to review North Carolina open meetings and open records law, just to make sure all matters are being handled to the letter of the law.

It’s clear business cannot continue in Calabash as it has in the last few weeks. Talk to your constituents. Find out what they expect from you. Represent the people of Calabash in the manner you were elected to do, and play fair with others on your board.