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In this economy families must watch every penny they spend.
Government must now, and always, do the same.
Down in Calabash spending appears to be causing a rift on the town board.
There is a clash among board members about how tax dollars are being spent.
A recent disagreement has some board members calling for Mayor Mary Knight to be stripped of all of her powers.
Others are calling it a witch-hunt.
Recently Knight had flooring replaced in her office at town hall. She says it was necessary because existing carpeting was wet and moldy. The replacement job set the town back $1,152.
While we would support remedying any situation that may cause staff or visitors health concerns, we also believe this project and others like it provide a perfect opportunity for officials to lead by example.
Certainly all official steps as outlined by the town for making purchases—aka spending taxpayer dollars—should be followed. Not only should every member of the town’s staff and board follow these guidelines, they should all know what the rules are or at the very least know where to go to find out, the mayor especially.
If any or all of the steps were not followed, the council was right to call Knight on the carpet; however, we’re not seeing right now how the suggested punishment fits the offense.
While a keen eye must be kept on all government spending, calling for the mayor to be stripped of all “powers” seems to be a knee-jerk reaction. It’s important for the town board to remember the same people who put them at the dais put the mayor there. Unless she has committed a crime or failed to behave in an ethical manner, we see no reason to call for her not to act as mayor.
We do, however, want to commend the board for other spending-related decisions it made at its most recent meeting. Members approved a measure that will require board approval for the mayor or board members to attend meetings where they are seeking town reimbursement for related expenses.
That just makes sense.
Don’t forget about the public outcry in recent years when Brunswick County commissioners were taken to task for the money they were being reimbursed for attending various meetings in the name of government business. Those opportunities can be taken advantage of if not for watchful eyes and guidelines.
At that same meeting last week the Calabash board also approved a measure that would require board members and the mayor to get approval for any expenditures of $250 or more.
Hats off to board members who supported those two spending-regulated measures. When it comes to watching town expenditures, more oversight can be a good thing.