Commissioners weigh in on appointments, asked to help HART expansion

By Vicki Hyatt | Mar 18, 2014

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners dismissed several questions about board appointees at Monday’s meeting.

During the public comment session, Maggie Valley business owner Allen Alsbrooks asked the board to deny a request from the Maggie Valley governing board to replace Tourism Development Authority member Rob Edwards with Alderman Mike Eveland.

Alsbrooks said the commissioners needed two names to choose from, something the board later said was not the case.

Maggie Valley Mayor Ron DeSimone said the political dynamics changed with last year's election, and now town aldermen wanted a member from their own board on the tourism agency governing board. Edwards had earlier been named to the TDA board as Maggie Valley's representative.

“This is not a referendum on Mr. Edwards,” DeSimone said. “He has done a fine job. But he has not necessarily expressed the views of our board.”

In their motion appointing Alderman Mike Eveland to the TDA, the commissioners rescinded Edwards’ appointment.

On a separate board appointment issue, Denny King read correspondence from a UNC School of Government attorney who maintained the Haywood County Fairgrounds was a public body.

Last month, County Attorney Chip Killian, who also consulted the UNC School of Government, said the fairgrounds' nonprofit 501c3 status put it in a different category and a member who served on that governing board plus two others, would not be in violation of the law or the constitution.

King and others have questioned whether the reappointment of Mary Ann Enloe to the county board of equalization violated dual appointment provisions of state law and the state constitution. These provisions place limitations on how many boards or elective offices an individual can hold. At the time, Enloe served on the fairgrounds board, the community college governing board and the board of equalization and review.

When the dual appointment question was raised, Enloe immediately resigned from the fairgrounds board.

Killian reiterated his opinion that no violation occurred, and Commission Chairman Mark Swanger said the issue is now moot since Enloe is only on two boards.

Steven Lloyd, director of Haywood Arts Regional Theater, updated the commissioners on the progress of a $1 million project to add another theater. With a $2.4 million annual impact in the county, and at least half of the ticket sales to those outside the county, HART is an economic engine in the county, he said.

Because the plays are at night, it is likely many theater-goers come early for dinner, spend the night and eat breakfast the next day.

Another theater will allow productions to shift back and forth between stages, and will double the season — and economic impact, he predicted.

“Now, there’s a three-week shutdown between performances and we’re losing half of our potential revenue during the tourist season,” Lloyd said.

So far, $675,000 has been raised for the project and grants are being sought to reach the $1 million goal. Grant agencies look for a buy-in from the the county and towns, Lloyd said, so local participation will be key.

He requested the county contribute $25,000 this year, and another $25,000 next year toward the project.

The board members said they would consider the request along with others as the budget for the coming fiscal year is being prepared.

Comments (10)
Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 19, 2014 00:30

Whoa!  I distinctly recall The Mountaineer publishing an article that said "No Law Broken" on the "too many boards" issue.  And the gold-standard source of truth was said to be the "NC School of Government" -- the same "NC School of Government" who is now quoted to say indeed the board is a public body?!?!

 

Ref: http://themountaineer.villagesoup.com/p/no-law-broken/1136534

 

STOP THE PRESSES!  Who is lying here?  The same NC School of Government can't give conflicting statements.  Mr. Denny King actually read correspondence from this group?  Did anyone validate that correspondence?  And did anyone validate whatever opinion from an unnamed source the County Attorney received from the same NC School of Government?  Who lied?  The Mountaineer was duped!  Tell us how that happened!

 

Again, I applaud Ms. Enloe for taking the high road and doing what was right.  The fact that this woman was able to interpret the law correctly might mean she is more qualified to give legal advice to the Board than .... well, we'll just say she gets a gold star.  :-)

 

Oh, and I did notice the Mountaineer-published "clarification" in hardcopy only on page 2 where Mr. King did not really suggest to throw Ms. Enloe in jail.  Somehow I thought that claim was a little far-fetched.  (And to think Mr. Zimmerman suggested I was incorrect in asking if the story was biased.  The law WAS broken and Mr. King did NOT suggest throwing Ms. Enloe in jail.  If the story wasn't biased, it sure was inaccurate.)

 

Ref: http://themountaineer.villagesoup.com/p/excessive-public-service-questioned/1118710

 

"Commission Chairman Mark Swanger said the issue is now moot since Enloe is only on two boards." -- In other words, no harm, no foul.  Nevermind whatever we tried to do to Mr. King's reputation.  And as for Mr. King's original question as to if Ms. Enloe made any opinions while her opinion was invalid by serving on more board than is legal, just ignore that question and move on.  Right?



Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Mar 19, 2014 10:34

House Bill 1013 authorizing the additional 1% occupancy tax collection in 2007 clearly states each municipality shall submit two names for consideration for their eligible seat. Section 15 (a)(4) Tourism Development Authority-Appointment and Membership: (4)

Four at-large members who are recommended to the Board of Commissioners by the four municipal governments. Each governing body must submit two names to the Board, and the Board must select from the names submitted

http://ncleg.net/enactedlegislation/sessionlaws/pdf/2007-2008/sl2007-337.pdf

 

this is directly from the NC Legislature files. I don't see how it can be interpreted any differently.



Posted by: Nicole Harley | Mar 19, 2014 10:47

Haywood County Fairground amended by-laws show it is a public body, financial records are public records and the board members act as fiduciary agents for the commissioners.

The Amended and Restated By-Laws of the Haywood County fairgrounds, Inc. state in part:

ARTICLE ll. Purpose

B. Act as the Haywood County Board of County Commissioners’ fiduciary agent for Fairgrounds funding, as instructed by the Haywood County Finance Director.

C. Set policies and operating procedures for all Fairgrounds properties and activities.

D. Hire and supervise the Fairgrounds manager.

Article lll Fairgrounds Board Membership

A. The Fairgrounds Board is appointed by the Haywood County Board of Commissioners.

B. ***The BOCC set the number of Fairgrounds Board Members at seven (7) including a county commissioner who is a voting member of the Fairgrounds Board.

Article lV Officers

***F. Treasurer

***Financial records of the Fairgrounds Board are public records and shall be made available to the public pursuant to the North Carolina Public Records Act as set forth in Chapter 132 of the General Statutes of North Carolina.

Article V Meetings

The Fairgrounds Board is a public body and all meetings shall adhere to the North Carolina Open Meetings Law as set forth l Article 33C, Chapter 143 of the general Statutes of North Carolina.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 19, 2014 11:03

I'm starting to think Haywood County either is a banana republic or maybe just has politicians who are poorly educated or not competent.  Let's break it down:

 

1) The County has a "policy" that is contrary to the NC Constitution encouraging wide participation in government from a few rather than many citizens.

2) The County attorney gave erroneous advice to the board regarding the 501c3 organization not being a "public body".  And when challenged, he maintains his position citing an unnamed source -- if in fact he had a source at all.

3) Mr. King asked the County Board if Ms. Enloe's appointment was in error and if that had any impact on decisions on illegal (invalid) board appointments.  The Board has not answered those questions.

4) There is a report that there are MULTIPLE instances of people potentially serving on too many boards.  Is there any effort to rectify this situation or disclose who that might be?

5) There are accusations that Open Meeting Laws are being ignored in Maggie Valley.  And other boards that are deemed to be a "public body" are also in question about Open Meeting Laws.

6) The Mayor of Maggie Valley says the TDA representative should serve the Maggie Valley Board and not the citizens or businesses of Maggie Valley.

7) Jim Davis is a local Republican yet goes against the Haywood County Republican Party's resolution to oppose the TDA tax because he reportedly is posturing and fearful of retaliation from local Democrats and the media as what they attempted to do with Rep. Purcell.

8) This report that the County board is disregarding rules and appointing someone to the TDA without any choice for commissioners to consider.

9) I have heard from a business owners who say they are fearful to express their opinion because local politicians will retaliate against them.  (This one is the most scary.  A County/Town held captive in fear from their elected leaders?  I dearly hope it isn't so!)

 

A lot stinks about local government in Haywood County.  I'm now paying attention and I will encourage everyone else to pay attention as well.  The NC Attorney General should look into this place and all that goes on here.

 

Are there any government groups that do things well and with integrity?  For example, I've never seen or heard about a single issue with the town of Waynesville.  Is it possible that they have it right and should mentor other government bodies that might not have it right?



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 19, 2014 11:06

Ms. Harley, the clear documentation that you provide suggests the County Attorney is incompetent.  I do not make that statement without considerable thought.  It is likely appropriate to consider removing him from his official role.



Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Mar 19, 2014 13:15

Just keep in mind... These governing bodies  are hiring attorneys who supply the lowest bid. Just sayin....



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 19, 2014 13:49

Mr. Alsbrooks: I'm working on a piece for discussion that I will post soon.  Mr. Killian's distinguished career suggests he should be capable/qualified of providing sound advice to the Board.  But let's call it like it is... regardless of any threat of retaliation.



Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Mar 19, 2014 15:23

Awesome. I am looking forward to your thoughts.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 20, 2014 01:46

I'd like to retract the following:

 

"The County has a "policy" that is contrary to the NC Constitution encouraging wide participation in government from a few rather than many citizens." -- The description of the policy as stated in a "No Law Broken" article was ambiguously stated.  "..county policy that invites people to apply for boards to encourage wide participation across the county...Each county commissioner..." -- "people" does not necessarily equate to "each county commissioner".  It would be proper for a county commissioner to serve on any number of boards while non-county commissioners should only serve on no more than 2 public body boards so long as they appoint themselves.

 

There is a report that there are MULTIPLE instances of people potentially serving on too many boards. -- If the people referenced were county commissioners, appointments of themselves to more than 2 boards would be ok.

 



Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Mar 20, 2014 13:03

It I recall correctly the board seats held by the county commissioners would be in "Exofficio" status and would typically not have voting authority. They would be advisors.



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