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Rumors Addressed, Questions Answered
March Town Board Meeting 2024
April 22, 2024

T
he March Town Board Meeting, held March 5, was standing room only. There were about 60 in the room, and several came and went as the meeting progressed.

All Commissioners – Charlie Overcash, Allen Price, Frank Roe, Breena Litzenberger, and Bonnie Crosser – and Mayor Sally Belangia were present as were Town Manager Diane Miller, Deputy Finance Officer Tammy Cox, and Officers Bill Wichrowski and Nic Blayney.

The meeting unusually long, lasting nearly three and a half hours.

Before the meeting’s start, Jennifer Roe, wife of Commissioner Frank Roe, assigned herself an unofficial role: to place a laminated sheet of paper on each Commissioner’s desk. On the paper: a guide for rules and procedures for conducting a meeting.

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Residents fill the seats at the March 2024 Town Board Meeting.

TownDock.net records all meetings, and writes the report from that recording. Links to prior articles with documentation are at the end of the article.

Public Comments, and Rumors Finally Explained
Twelve residents signed up to speak. Two wrote emails. Of the three and half hour meeting, a majority of the time was dedicated to discussion, between the public and Commissioners, about lingering questions from prior Board meetings.

The Public questioned why Commissioners had not responded to their inquiries from the February meeting about the new position of financial liaison – instated and assumed by Commissioner Bonnie Crosser.

One resident, Roger Huth, identified himself as a certified fraud examiner. He questioned all Commissioners about the liaison position and, running out of time, said he would email each of them his list of questions.

Residents continued to raise questions about the source of rumors of staff cuts and questioning personnel.

[Detailed quotes from the public are at the end of the article.]

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Roger Huth, a recently retired Certified Fraud Examiner and Oriental resident had several questions for Commissioners.

Commissioner Comments Delayed
At the end of Public Comments, Commissioner Litzenberger began to address the public’s questions and was interrupted by Commissioners Roe and Crosser. They said the Commissioner responses should be given at the end of the meeting during Commissioner Comments, gesturing to the laminated sheets on their desk.

Mayor Belangia Has Enough
Mayor Belangia, appearing to have reached a breaking point, stood up with the laminated sheet and loudly said “We are being controlled. Jennifer Roe passed out something for me – to control – because I don’t have enough sense. I have been mayor for eight years and all of a sudden I can’t control these meetings because they-” Belangia stood up and grabbed a purple book from the desk in front of her, “- this is the book, this is the book and I’ve read it a thousand times. And this is not a big city, it’s a small town, but we can’t get anything accomplished.”

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Mayor Sally Belangia holds a book on policy and procedure for government boards. She said “I’m tired of people trying to run our board.”

“I’m just saying I’m tired of people trying to run our board. And when our board wants to speak, they should be able to speak.” The crowd applauded, but Crosser cut in and said the time for them to respond was during Commissioner Comments.

Mayor Belangia held Commissioner responses until Commissioner Comments.

In past meetings, Commissioners could choose to answer the public during public comments, have the Town Manager answer the public, or not answer at all. Commissioner Comments were often reserved for non-agenda items.

After the rest of the meeting’s agenda was discussed and concluded, Commissioners proceeded with their comments. By the end of the regular meeting, some of the audience had left. However, a majority of the audience did hang around.

Public’s Questions Addressed
Commissioner Litzenberger addressed questions and comments from the February meeting and Commissioners’ communications outside meetings.

Regarding the purpose of audits, she said, “The comment from the previous meeting from Commissioner Price that audits are not meant to find fraud is false. Audits cannot prevent fraud, but the entire practice is to look for discrepancies in our finances, which could then lead to the discovery of fraudulent activity.”

She continued, saying auditors ask for what documents they want and do not accept what they are given. Also, if there are no red flags for any internal controls or previous audits from the town’s existing auditors, then what is the reason for the financial liaison?

Litzenberger also broke down the cost of losing Andrew Cox who filled two positions: Director of Public Works and Water Plant Operator in Responsible Charge. Both Cox and Commissioner Litzenberger attribute the resignation to questioning personnel matters by the financial liaison.

Working backwards from Cox’s salary, calculating raises and costs for promoting and hiring employees to the vacant positions, and adding in the cost of contracting an ORC until Daniel Early can be licensed, she said, “this loss of Andrew Cox will cost the town $53,305 dollars. This says nothing of the lawyer fees which have been accumulated by instigating this position [about $700 in December] or the time in which Manager Miller and Tammy Cox take out of their day to pull documents together.”

Private one-on-one meetings
“I need to state something that I’m not entirely sure that the public is aware of,” Litzenberger said. “State law prohibits Commissioners from meeting in groups larger than three, as that creates a quorum. So Commissioners meet one-on-one outside of monthly board meetings. Bonnie meets with Frank, Frank meets with Allen, Allen meets with Charlie, and issues are discussed.”

Litzenberger said the “system may have worked for past boards, but it is not working for this board.” She recommended taking notes or recording the meetings for public transparency, and reminded the room that the public has access to their Commissioner emails.

Commissioner Overcash confirmed the system of one-to-one-to-one discussion.

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Charlie Overcash explains that Commissioners meet one-on-one outside of regular town meetings.

“Commissioner Roe and I met and discussed what he and Commissioner Crosser had talked about on personnel issues,” he said. “I wrote it down. I brought it to Allen… then I met with Manager Miller.”

Origins of the resignation
Overcash read his handwritten notes from that meeting with Commissioner Roe. On the list: “Drew and Tammy taking their son to school on town time.”

This statement was the final straw for Public Works Director and Water Plant ORC Andrew Cox. In his interview with TownDock.net, Cox said the questioning of his family life was a key reason for submitting his resignation.

Commissioner Overcash added that Commissioner Bonnie Crosser’s CPA title “is not all infallible.”

Overcash continued, “Bonnie tried to get a check for the Pickleball people put into the wrong year’s budget.” It was a partial payment for newly stripped Pickleball courts at Lupton Park. The town had fronted the money for the courts, intending to replace it with the check from the Pickleball players.

The town auditor had to be contacted to provide direction before Crosser would hand the check over to the Town for deposit. (Linked at the end of the article.)

Overcash added that Crosser, after the newly elected officials attended a seminar on checks and balances oversight, “without authorization – nothing evil or bad here – bought some stuff for Lupton Park at Lowe’s. And then brought the receipt back to Tammy asking for a check.” Oriental has a Lowe’s account and unauthorized purchases cannot be reimbursed.

Crosser was the former Parks and Recreation Board Chair, and was not yet sworn in to the Board of Commissioners. She was not reimbursed for the purchase.

In both instances, the town’s system of financial checks and balances – which Crosser has said may not be up to standards – worked. They prevented the misapplication and misuse of town funds by Bonnie Crosser.

Manager Miller has jurisdiction over personnel
Town Manager Miller, Deputy Finance Officer Tammy Cox, and Commissioner Overcash responded to and explained many of the items on Overcash’s list.

Miller said, “I am the Board’s only employee: as the Manager, the Clerk, the Police Chief, the Land Use Administrator – all the things – the Finance Officer. And all of the rest of the employees work for me. So, if, if you all have concerns about the way we operate and why things happen, I would appreciate those coming to me and let me deal with them.”

She continued, “Those are decisions that I make, and I am responsible for, and I am happy to answer for, that I feel are in the best interest of the town to allow those things to happen because they’re not against policy. If you don’t have policy, and it allows us to – in a small environment – allows us to keep people working, happy, family-oriented, keep it together and move on.”

Miller also said that the job of Commissioners is to set policy, but if it is about employees, “I need you to come to me.”

Commissioner Crosser cites authority for liaison position
Commissioner Crosser responded to Roger Huth, explaining her reasoning for the financial liaison position she occupies. As before, she cited the authority comes from training Commissioners attended, partly because the town is on the Unit Assistance List (UAL).

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Commissioner Bonnie Crosser responds to public comments.

However, the training slides she quoted from during the meeting were from a different training – the Essentials of Municipal Government (EMG) – training ALL newly elected officials are required to take and not the more specific financial oversight training required specifically for towns on the UAL.

What follows is a point-by-point breakdown of training slides Commissioner Crosser quoted or referenced as the granting authority for the liaison position, followed by the actual authority (with citations).

Powers of the Local Government Commission
Crosser’s quote: The Commissioner quoted verbatim “the local government commission has the authority to issue rules and regulations having the force of law governing procedures for the receipt, deposit, investment, transfer, and disbursement of money.”
What it actually says: This does not give authority to the Board of Commissioners. For clarity, the Local Government Commission (LGC) Crosser cites does not refer to any local governing board of commissioners. Rather, it refers to the nine-member state body in the Department of the Treasury and it has the power to override the authority of troubled local government boards (159.25c).

Oversight Responsibility
Crosser’s quote: “Governing Board has oversight responsibility for the internal control system. Management designs, implements, and monitors the effectiveness of the established controls.”
What it actually says: Crosser is quoting from the EMG training. UAL training says: “Management establishes structure, responsibility, and authority for the internal control procedures.” The ‘management’ is the Town Manager. The Manager establishes structure, responsibility, authority – not the Board of Commissioners.

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The slide Commissioner Crosser quoted in the meeting is from a general training for all newly elected officials: Essentials of Municipal Government.
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Slide from the Unit Assistance List Training outlining who has Internal Control responsibilities.

Board Members to Review Accounts
Crosser’s quote: “Compensating Controls: Board members spot check transactions and review supporting documentations. Board member to review account reconciliations. Board members to review rotating duties” – again an EMG training slide giving board members duties regarding accounts. The slide references an NC Treasury (Memorandum 2015-15) for Small Government Units. (Linked at the end of the article.)
What it actually says: Memorandum 2015-15 says Small Units of Government have one or two accounting personnel. Oriental has four, plus the Mayor and Commissioners that sign checks and open bank statements.

The UNC School of Government’s book Local Government in North Carolina defines small municipalities: “Many small municipalities do not have a manager. Where there is no manager, the governing board is responsible for administration of the town’s business. The board hires and directs town employees and manages the town’s affairs together, as a committee, or assigns day-to-day oversight responsibilities for different departments to different board members.”

Oriental has a manager and employees, and does not fit either definition of a Small Units of Government or a Small Municipality.

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A slide from the Essential of Government Training references NC Treasury Memorandum 2015-15, on how small municipalities – with only one or two accounting personnel – can use board members to guarantee internal financial controls. Oriental has four.

Board Mandates
Crosser’s quote: “The state treasurer, North Carolina State Treasurer through the UAL, mandates that the Board does this.”
What it actually says: The mandates for the Board, from the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act (LGBFCA) are: “the governing board plays a critical role in overseeing compliance with all financial laws and internal policies. In addition to the roles specifically assigned to it by the LGBFCA, such as adopting the budget, selecting the official depository(ies), setting the amount of, and paying for, performance bonds, and hiring the independent auditor/receiving the audit report, the board is charged generally with the proper stewardship of the public funds. It must set expectations for all employees and officials of the unit to follow both statutory and other internal rules related to the collection, management, and disbursement of public funds.” (Linked at the end of the article.)

The State Treasury does not mention or mandate the financial liaison position.

Internal Controls
Crosser’s quote: Crosser said again that the liaison position was needed to check the efficacy of the town’s internal controls and make sure no one person is handling too many things.
In actuality: Oriental’s internal controls work and are documented. Crosser has demonstrated that the system works. Ironically, it kept her from moving money away from where it belonged and from being reimbursed for unauthorized purchases. The internal controls were outlined in a multi-page document, prepared at the end of the 2023 fiscal year, showing every person in the office involved in each step of the financial process. (Linked at the end of the article.)

Misrepresenting the Town Lawyer
Crosser’s quote: When asked why she doesn’t follow the town’s guidance on not having the positions, Crosser replied the position was eventually approved by the attorney. “It’s not illegal. He just doesn’t think the staff would like people looking at their work. So he recommended against it.”
What was actually said: Town Attorney Scott Davis recommended against it because it “may cause issues with the town staff,” as Crosser noted in her own words, in an email to Davis on November 27, 2023, recapping his thoughts on the liaison position. (Linked at the end of the article.) The attorney’s comments have proved accurate with the resignation of former Public Works Director Andrew Cox, and the coming resignation of Deputy Finance Director Tammy Cox.

Commissioner Litzenberger Returning to the question of the financial liaison, Litzenberger said the UAL training was “given to us by the League of Municipalities. They’re the ones that put it on. So for them to then also suggest, our representative to suggest, that we shouldn’t instate this position is kind of telling.”

The goal, said Litzenberger, was to have oversight of the finances – not to be in the middle of them. She expressed concern about the financial liaison questioning straying into personnel issues: “is this financial liaison position going to trigger further resignations?”

Litzenberger went on, adding that the questions brought up weren’t about finances, but personnel, and had already lead to one resignation with another pending.

Crosser and Litzenberger got into a back and forth disagreement that was ended by Mayor Belangia. That was the end of the responses by the Commissioners. The Board moved to adjourn soon after.

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Joanna Grundstrom asks Commissioners for a more accessible meeting time.
The Water Plant ORC Contract
The town will contract with Mr. Jeffery Sanders at a rate of $2,500 a month for his services as the Operator in Responsible Charge of the water plant. This was necessary due to the resignation of Andrew Cox.

Commissioners approved the contract.

Manager’s Report:
• Financials provided in the report are year to date instead of just for the month. This was an accident on Miller’s part, she said, “because I was running to catch up.”
• Town will be filing the reimbursement forms for the Pierce Creek Dredging. They are administrators of the dredging grant only, and the town does not contribute to the cost of the dredge itself.
• The town has a notice of violation and a notice of deficiency for elevated copper and zinc levels. There is a notice of intent to assess the town for up to $25,000, but Public Works Director Cox was working on it. The County’s water system experienced the same issue. They are tracking it down and appealing the assessment.
• A Dolphin Point drainage easement was blocked. The Town’s contractor found the issue – a too-small pipe- and can fix it for $8,500. Commissioners agreed to pay for the fix.
• Commissioners cancelled their quarterly meeting for March 28.
• A salt pipe burst at the water plant, making it look like it was snowing, said Miller. The Town will not pay for the cost of the break or the extra salt – the liability is on the company. Miller said the cost of a truck load of salt is at nearly $6,500.
• Duke Energy increase – 7.8% went into effect in September – total 2024 is 23.8% percent increase this year. There are several legal challenges pending the increase. Miller said there are also two more scheduled increases: 5.3% in 2025 and 4.8% in 2026.

New Financial Software, New Financial Officer
Deputy Finance Director Tammy Cox had been looking into finance software, as the Oriental’s software provider, Edmunds GovTech, is discontinuing some of their accounting modules in March 2025. The Town has been told it will take a year to integrate all of their data into a new system.

Manager Miller said everyone Cox has spoken with said to stay away from payroll provider ADP. “What they offer you at the beginning is a tiny little piece of what you actually need and the add on charges were breathtaking.”

Tammy Cox, wife of Public Works Director Andrew Cox, is leaving at the end of the school year. Miller said she “can’t do the things [Cox] does and do my job too.” Cox has offered to work remotely on contract until the Town hires a new financial officer.

Oriental resident Dan Allen had been investigating other payroll providers, but found none that would work longterm and would be easy to integrate. With that, the League of Municipalities warning against ADP, the system the County uses being too expensive (and causing water billing issues per County Commissioner Candy Bohmert), Oriental Commissioners decided to go with the solution from EdmundsGovTech.

It will cost an additional $200 a month, but it will also handle the integration of 30(ish) years of financial data.

Adoption of the Purple Book: Board Rules and Procedures
Mayor Sally Belangia held this book during public comments when she said she had read the book several times and know how to run a meeting.

A previous Board had looked into a formal adoption of rules and procedures. Manger Miller said Commissioner Price “actually went to the City of Denton” to find out about their policy – and found they didn’t follow it. Other cities, said Miller, had procedures only a page or two long.

Miller said the reason nothing was approved was because “everything that we were looking at was so long and involved… several members of the previous board didn’t feel like a town this small needed a whole book.”

Commissioners tabled the discussion until the quarterly meeting.

Public Hearings
SUP for First Baptist Church at 605 Broad Street The church has asked for a Special Use Permit to use their property as a school where home-schooled children can gather.

Commissioners approved the SUP with the condition the Church provide a crossing guard when the children are coming and going from the school. They must also coordinate times with the Town Officer.

Children and their parents will need to cross Broad Street – Highway 55 – to get from the parking lot to the church.

SUP for a Rezoning at 807 Broad Street The lot at 807 Broad Street houses the Oriental Deli and the Post Office. A restaurant is going in the empty office spaces behind the Deli and owners are asking to move the zoning line so they can put in a walled outdoor space.

The lot has two zones: MU (mixed commercial) at the front and R3 (residential) at the back. The same rezoning was attempted in 2011 by a different owner, but Midyette Street residents pushed back and it was dropped.

Several meetings ago, Commissioner Litzenberger asked if Miller could go to the owner and ask to move the MU zoning line instead of rezoning the entire lot. He agreed. That leaves a residential area big enough for three R3 lots along Midyette Street. These lots cannot be used for any commercial purpose.

Gwendolyn Gibbs spoke during the hearing. “My concern is … large vehicles coming through that area.” She was also concerned that the easement would be used as an exit / entry point from the lot to Midyette Street and that there would be excessive noise.

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Gwendolyn Gibbs, Midyette Street resident, lists her concerns with the rezoning of 804 Broad Street.

Town ordinance, Miller said, prohibits used of the easement to Midyette Street for commercial traffic, except for the Post Office – it’s deeded to them for that use, though they haven’t used it in years.

Commissioner Roe asked to table the motion until the April meeting so residents could have more time to respond.

Public Hearing for the Comprehensive Land Use Plan The Comprehensive Land Use Plan is a foundational document of the town, laying out the Town’s vision and goals.

Oriental’s auxiliary boards, residents, and Commissioners worked with The Planning Board through several public hearings and revisions.

Commissioners thanked everyone for their work and passed the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Request for rezoning for 604 Shorey Drive. The owner of 604 Shorey Drive has asked that the parcel be rezoned from R3 to MU. It was annexed into town as some 30 acres in 2019, as an R3. The idea was to build duplexes.

In 2024, the parcel was split in two, and the larger parcel (20 some acres) was submitted for rezoning. The intent is to put an ‘Executive RV Park’ on the lot.

However the zoning is first, then the owner must submit a Special Use Permit for the RV Park.

Commissioners set the public hearing for their April 2 meeting.

Water Board Appointees
The Water Advisory Board was revived to oversee the spending of the $5.5 million in funds received for Oriental’s Water System.

Two new members were appointed: Richard Guimond and Stephen Drew. Commissioner Bonnie Crosser, liaison to the Water Advisory Board, is also serving as Chair of the Water Board.

Meeting Times Moved to 6p
Town Board meetings have been held at 8a, Tuesday mornings since 2021. Residents have asked for an evening time change, to accommodate those who are working during the day.

Commissioners unanimously voted to change regular monthly Board meetings to 6p.

There was a second motion to move all workshop and special meetings to 6p. It was approved 4-1, with Commissioner Price against. Budget workshops – because they often take several hours – will still be held during the day.

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Commissioner Allen Price checks his notes during the meeting.
Manager’s evaluation
Commissioner Frank Roe asked to move Town Manager Miller’s evaluation to coincide with the fiscal year rather than her hiring date.

If evaluated this year, that would mean a 3 month evaluation period – not enough time for new Commissioners to perform the evaluation, Commissioner Overcash pointed out.

Roe and Overcash agreed to hold the Manager’s evaluation until the next fiscal year, giving her a 15 month evaluation period.

[Below are summaries and quotes from the Public Comments. Each speaker had three minutes.]

Public Comments
Mayor Sally Belangia read out two emails. Twelve residents spoke out.

The first email was from Jane David. She wrote in that residents had been drawn to the town meetings under false pretenses “to install baseless hate, anger, and distrust of our officials.” She said the actions of the residents was immature and she was disappointed.

She also said she didn’t know everything that had transpired, but hoped “as we move forward that respect and common courtesy towards all members of our town be maintained.”

Gregory Bohmert “Last week I saw the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen here in 30 years transpire here in Oriental. We had ourselves an inquisition going on.” Bohmert went on to say the weekend’s 125th Birthday Celebration Parade in the rain was the most endearing thing he’d seen, because people “really care for this community.”

He asked that when “public outcry comes along, that we look to our leaders for the stability and sobriety to break it down for all of us.”

Roger Huth introduced himself as a Certified Fraud Examiner who has spent 36 years “investigating allegations of financial misconduct and fraud.”

He had several questions “to get some clarification, with respect to the financial liaison role.” His questions were: what is the scope of the role, what was the impetus for creating it, is there actual fraud previously alleged or uncovered in any way, is there a known risk of fraud or material financial control deficiencies from prior audits, what basis was needed to form the position, what basis determines the focus of the liaison activities, do you have formal risk assessment, is there documentation of what has been found, is there a written report of findings?

Commissioner Crosser said she would meet with him after the meeting.

Huth also stated the perception of staffing concerns can be “just as damaging as actually having these concerns.” Huth ran out of time. He said he would submit his questions to the commissioners.

Gail Good said she was going to stick with facts. She requested the emails between Commissioners from the night before the Special Meeting.

“Crosser and Roe attempted to cause a special meeting to be cancelled when they found that Price would not be in attendance due to his testing positive for the flu. They attempted to call in sick, which would result in a lack of quorum, therefore no vote could be taken.”

She said, “Price initially told the mayor he would not be in attendance due to the positive test result for COVID… he was following CDC guidelines. Crosser and Roe were directed to provide a positive COVID flu test, otherwise they were to attend the meetings.”

Good went on to say that Price’s vote on the liaison position should be nullified and that Crosser and Roe should do the moral and ethical thing and resign their positions.

Butch Rasmussen said the Mayor should set the record straight about rumors in town. Rasmussen accused Commissioner Litzenberger of starting the rumors and suggested he knew more about Andrew Cox’s resignation than the man himself, saying he resigned because he couldn’t handle the work load.

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Butch Rasmussen speaks at the March Board Meeting.

Rasmussen spun the theory that rumors came from management, staff, Litzenberger, and TownDock with the intent of targeting Commissioner Crosser. He concluded by telling people to “put up facts and state the source.”

[Commissioner Overcash confirmed in this meeting that the ‘rumors’ were factual, and came out of a meeting between Commissioners Crosser and Roe regarding personnel.]

Terri Halpern was at the Special Meeting and heard around 35 people speak about their concerns. “It’s unclear, Commissioners, what your end goal is, but I do know, based on my own management and evidentiary experience, that you can subtly demoralize staff and drive them out simply by withdrawing needed resources, undercutting their authority, and showing a lack of interest in quality of life issues, rather than outright dismissal.”

Halpern went on to ask questions ranged from asking about the anonymous flyer about the 2022-23 budget, voting against a new hire for Public Works in 2021/22, cancelling the small excavator purchase, questioning staff on their right to take their children and grandchildren to school.

Halpern ran out of time.

Joanna Grundstrom has been living outside Oriental since 2017 and was finally able to move into the town last year. Asked the Board to consider make meetings more accessible to working people. Cited 32% population under 65 and around 25% who are employed and likely working regular working hours.

“I spent 40 years trying to find a place to live…I did look long and hard before I settled on this place to live.” Grundstrom said she had grandparent who lived to 95, so she was looking at possibly another 50 years in Oriental and “I have a vested interest in making sure that this town is a place I can grow in.”

Jennifer Roe, wife of Commissioner Frank Roe – “In 2011, 2012, I was your commissioner. Prior to that, I worked on numerous boards… That year we had a manager resign, just as an example. We had a manager that we fired. And we had an interim manager hired. All in a period of one year. And the town kept right on moving, it kept right on working… because of community.”

Roe went on to say that in 2011 she was “the person that went into the office as oversight.”

“Nobody should ever call for an elected person’s resignation in this small town. And it just upsets me to no end.”

Angie Propst “The from-here’s, the been-here’s, the come-here’s have made Oriental the special place it is. When we all work together… that’s when great things happen.”

She reiterated Roe’s comment about the voting in the elections and not calling for anyone’s resignation “unless somebody has stolen something, done something immoral, or, you know, something like that.”

Richard Lambert, husband of Commissioner Crosser, said he is “privy to some information” and when, during her campaign, people discovered Crosser was a CPA, “the conversation immediately switched over to what are we going to do about financial oversight for this town?”

Lambert said the Special Meeting was “a train wreck, embarrassing”, but that afterwards they were getting text messages and emails to them saying, “Keep up the fight. We want financial oversight.”

Lambert said “the Treasury Department has recommended this be implemented” and that it is only “a second set of eyes looking at public records.”

Ginger Barnett “A lot of this could be squished if somebody took these questions that he [Roger Huth] has and instead of just meeting with him, the council meet with everybody and explain themselves. It would squash a lot of this if it is rumored.

“Instead of having private meetings with people, how about address these questions in a public forum to everyone?”

Eric Kindle said community involvement that keeps Oriental going and that people do not like “drama and toxicity” wherever they are. “If the current atmosphere of this town does not change, I can almost promise you there’s going to be a ripple down effect that we do not want.”

Kindle said employees will seek jobs elsewhere, residents will be reluctant to get involved in volunteer and non-profit organizations and events, including on town boards and as Commissioners.

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Angie Propst read her statement from her phone.

Jennifer Pawlikowski “Roger asked some amazing questions that I don’t feel like I ever get an answer to, and I think they were all asked last week, and there have been no answers. How can we get answers? How can we get answers, not to an individual, but to all of us, so we know what the actual situation is?”

She addressed the rumors, saying, “I have people that work for this town, that drive around in the pickup trucks, I don’t even know their names, but they came to us at Sailcraft and asked us to help protect their jobs, because they felt that they were being undermined.

And that they were going to be fired or they were going to have to pick up more work.”

Pawlikowski also said Commissioner Litzenberger is her closest friend and that she did not spread rumors. From the audience, Butch Rasmussen said, “she did.” Pawlikowski replied, “No, she did not. I got that from the employees of this town asking for help.”

Mayor Sally Belangia read out an email from Darlene Marquart.

In her email, she asked why Commissioners, who made positive comments about Public Works, “However, they did not ask Drew [Cox] to stay. Why?”

Marquart’s email also said that the people did not want the liaison position, especially if a commissioner held it. “The commissioner said they would give up the position, however they voted to keep it. Why?”

[Editor’s note: At the Special Meeting, Commissioner Crosser did not say she would give up the position, but , “if you don’t want me to do it, fine. Then we need to pay a position to have this done.” Commissioners then voted to keep the position in a 3-2 vote.]

Marquart’s email ended with, “We are not getting answers to simple, very straightforward, important questions.”

Dates to Know
The April Town Board Meeting will be Tuesday, April 2 at 6p.

Related Information
March Meeting Agenda
Consent Agenda
ORC Contract
Manager’s Report
SUP Request: School at First Baptist Church
Public Hearing Rezoning Requests
Comprehensive Land Use Plan
Public Hearing Requests
Water Advisory Board Appointments
Meeting Time Change Poll
Police Report
Auxiliary Board Reports
NC Treasury Memorandum 2015-15: Internal Controls for Small Government
Oriental Internal Control Duties 2023
Statutory Internal Controls – Coates’ Canons NC Local Government Law
Email Thread Re: Pickleball Check
Email Thread Re: Financial Liaison Position

Posted Monday April 22, 2024 by Allison DeWeese


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