Elected officials work for you

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

It appears some elected officials have forgotten or don’t care about who they work for—the people of Brunswick County.

In Carolina Shores, the commissioners (elected officials) feel it’s their place to censure town mayor Stephen Selby (another elected official), and they think they have the right to do so without hearing what citizens think.

On Friday, commissioners told the people of Carolina Shores they didn’t care about what they had to say by announcing the board would not take public comment during a special meeting.

How is this any way to run town government? Since when have board members become so knowledgeable they can make decisions without referring to the will of the very people who put them in office?

The town’s commissioners and mayor report directly to the people of Carolina Shores—those who elected them to office. Town citizens have the right to say how they think elected officials are handling their responsibilities and should be able to express opinions at public meetings. This is a vital part of democracy. How brazen are Carolina Shores commissioners to think they have the right to take that away?

Thankfully, however, citizens were not deterred. Some held up signs; others spoke anyway. Since then, others have contacted the Beacon to share their opinions about what’s been going on.

Ultimately, voters will have their say on how this and other town matters have been handled—it’s called the November General Election.

And while board of education seats aren’t up for grabs this election period, these officials should also be reminded they too answer to the people who elected them.

Recently, a grievance against superintendent Katie McGee was made public, after which the North Carolina Association of Educators confirmed it was working with other employees about more potential complaints and grievances.

Last Thursday night, the board announced it had come to a decision about the grievance, but would not make that decision public. We have taken issue with the board doing anything other than considering the grievance in closed session and urge them to utilize a public meeting to make its “decision” public.

The public deserves to know exactly how its lead education official is handling matters. If the complaint against McGee was validated, the public should be made aware of what the violation is and its outcome. If it was unwarranted, McGee’s name should be publicly cleared.

While the law protects certain personnel information, the board can release information if it determines doing so would maintain the integrity of the board and would maintain public confidence in government.

Since citizens have expressed concerns about this grievance, we think releasing the outcome of this matter would be in the spirit of the law.

And finally, down in Calabash, controversial hire Jeremy Cribb has resigned as town administrator. After falsifying his resume, we think it was the right thing for him to do.

However, Calabash commissioners still haven’t had to formerly answer for the hiring debacle that brought him to town in the first place. Up until the day before his resignation, commissioners were standing behind the hiring decision, and several said they believed he deserved a second chance.

Cribb’s resignation removed the board’s chance to stand behind that decision and see what happened if he stayed, and it also took from them the opportunity to rectify what we see as a bad situation all the way around.

This November voters will get the chance to remind elected officials exactly who they work for—the people who put them in office—and they’re the same ones who can take them out.