Meeting hurt town’s relationship with citizens

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They may be trying to help Shallotte business owners, but we think Michael and Paula Pease have done a disservice to the people of Shallotte.
Michael, an appointed member of the Shallotte Board of Aldermen, is seeking election for an aldermen seat, while his wife Paula is a candidate for Shallotte mayor.
Earlier this month the two joined Shallotte business owners in a meeting with NCDOT regarding concerns about reopening a portion of N.C. 130. Business owners along that route say their businesses have been damaged following a redirection of traffic that went into effect when the Smith Avenue extension project was finished earlier this year.
The meeting sounds good in concept, but the problem is it’s caused turmoil and mass confusion among the town’s official governing body—the very board of which Michael is a member.
We’re disappointed Michael disregarded a board decision to have town administrator Albert Hughes facilitate a meeting on the town’s behalf. We can’t figure out why he agreed to the measure knowing another meeting was being discussed. Then, why did he attend that meeting after agreeing Hughes should represent the town?
And Paula, as a candidate for mayor, has basically thumbed her nose at the very board of which she hopes to someday be a part.
For what gain?
We haven’t heard a good argument as to why businesses would be better served by the meeting the Peases went to instead of one planned with official town representation.
What the Peases have done is further muddy an already complicated situation. They have been a part of a process that has created unnecessary tension between citizens and the board. This maneuver has painted an unfair picture the town wasn’t willing to help local business owners.
That’s just not true.
Town officials have said they understand business owners’ frustrations and want to help them.
But what the board wanted to do—and the Peases should have honored—was going through a process, a similar approach the town has historically taken regarding similar matters.
We think the board’s approach to this situation was the right one.
Now, instead of being able to review information and move forward accordingly, the town and NCDOT are left trying to figure out who said what, who needs to do what, and what has been committed where.
It’s unfair for everyone.
Two board meetings later, the town is no more clear on what it needs to do to help these businesses than it was when all of this began.
And now business owners must wait longer. Tuesday night, the board voted to move forward with getting more information from NCDOT and to have that information presented at its December meeting.
The delays and confusion caused by not respecting the board’s plan of action is truly a shame for all involved.