Eveland wants to lead Maggie by example

By Jessi Stone Assistant editor | Oct 17, 2013
Photo by: Jessi Stone Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen candidate Mike Eveland speaks at a recent candidate forum.

Mike Eveland, manager of the Maggie Valley Inn and Rendezvous Restaurant, is running for the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen with the goal of leading by example.

“The No. 1 thing in this campaign has to do with a positive image for Maggie Valley,” he said. “The majority of residents and business owners I’ve talked to are embarrassed, frustrated and scared. They’re embarrassed by the way the board has handled themselves, frustrated at the lack of productively and scared for the future.”

While he has never run for a public office before, Eveland said his experience in upper management with several large restaurant chains has taught him about the current economic situation in western North Carolina as well as how to work with others.

He also has served as the director of the Smoky Mountain Harley Owners, a group with more than 300 members. The group’s toy run project now helps 5,000 children a year compared to the 500 children it helped when Eveland took over.

“I like to get things done,” he said. “I have a positive outlook and a good sense of what residents are looking for,” he said.

Eveland said one thing he has noticed while attending town hall meetings for three months has been the lack of respect the aldermen have for themselves and their fellow board members.

“It’s one thing to have a difference of opinion — it’s another to disrespect each other,” he said. “Some of the issues (the town) has faced in the last year have not been earth shattering. They could have been worked out and dealt with.”

If elected, his top three goals would be to establish continuity on the board, to review and update policies and procedures and move the town forward.

When asked how he planned to accomplish those goals, Eveland said the board members needed to begin rebuilding their relationships and focus on real issues instead of getting “derailed” with personal agendas. By showing others respect, he hopes his professionalism will be contagious on the board.

“I can jostle with the best of them, but I’m going to be there to serve the people of the valley,” he said. “I will have respect and dignify and leave my personal agenda at home. It doesn’t matter whose idea it is — it’s about whether it’s the right thing to do.”

Many policy issues have come up at recent meetings, including policies regarding the festival grounds, road maintenance and annexation. Eveland said the policies should be updated to reflect the current economic climate and to protect residents and businesses in the future.

Lastly, he said the board needed a long-term vision to be able to move forward with the festival grounds, police department, infrastructure and the Moving Maggie Forward business plan.

“You can’t walk down a path if you don’t know where you’re going,” he said.

The Move Maggie Forward study was recently completed with input from the business community and has suggestions for improving the town’s economy — predominantly tourism. Eveland said there needs to be some momentum to get the plan implemented. He said the town needs to find the best vehicle for implementing the plan that would encompass the whole community. It would need to be an organization that can be inclusive of everyone for it to be successful, he said.

“I don’t know if that’s the chamber, but if it’s put in charge, it could lead to polarization,” he said. “As it evolves it will be a commercial project, but the town has to build that foundation.”

That's because the chamber is membership-based and nonmembers fear their voices may go unheard.

Eveland said some projects, like improving curbside appeal, should fall on the town’s shoulders because of the impact it will have on the local economy. He said the town could bridge the gap between residents’ and businesses’ needs by doing completing projects that benefit both. The town’s curbside appeal could be one of those things.

Eveland and two other alderman candidates, Saralyn Price and Janet Banks, have been holding meet and greet events together. However, Eveland said the three are not running on a “joint ticket” as some candidates have done in the past.

“We are not running together. We have some things we agree on, but also a lot of diversity,” he said. “We are three individuals who still have three votes and three different ideas… I’m going to vote my conscience based on experiences and discussions with constituents.”

Comments (6)
Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Oct 20, 2013 10:16

That's rich.... leading by example... RIGHT.

My 16yo son is Autistic/Aspergers. This election will be the last one before he turns 18 and is eligible to vote. So for this election I thought it best to begin to teach him the process of voting and how to choose a candidate without my influence. He has already met all of the Aldermen and Mayor on numerous occasions.  I've been taking him to the "meet and greet" events in order to introduce him to the people he hasn't met yet. I am trying to teach him to choose a candidate on his own not just because I like them; to form his own opinion.

Frankies Trattoria held a "meet and greet" event for Candidates Price, Banks, Eveland (who aren't running together ::wink, wink::). Since my son had only met Alderman Price I thought this the perfect opportunity for him to meet the others. Eveland and his partner pretty much met me at the door to express their displeasure (rolls eyes) at a comment posted on this papers website in which I expressed my opinion on recent public events. Once we ended our conversation I made my way over to Candidates Price and Banks. Each of them graciously spent a  few minutes talking to my son even though he isn't yet old enough to vote.

Now let's talk about "respect" which Eveland addresses in his comments. About 20 minutes into the visit, I approached Mr. Eveland and attempted to explain to him why I wanted him to meet my son. Instead of being remotely interested he just got up from his chair smirked and walked away. My son looked at me with a puzzled look. I just told him it was ok we would try again later. The following night we attended the "meet and greet" held at Hurley's Mr. Eveland was a bit more cordial but that first meeting made the most lasting impression on my son. Thank you for that fine example of putting personal issues aside for just a few minutes.


Oh, I do like the "we're not running together" billboard.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Oct 21, 2013 08:17

      Perhaps, Mr.Alsbrooks, it wasn't about your son at all.


      Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Oct 21, 2013 13:43

Read again for context hon.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Oct 22, 2013 10:21

    Look in the mirror, nitwit!


     Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Oct 22, 2013 20:28

Gurl, I'm "half-wit" as "nit-wit" died last year.

Land you make my point. If a candidate cannot put aside their personal feelings to help teach a young man a very important lesson why do we think he can represent a citizen who holds an opposing view point.

Thanks again for playing right into my point.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Oct 23, 2013 10:13

   Sorry for your loss.

    You disprove your own point.

     I  don't know anyone involved in this article, but with your continued disrespect, I again iterate it probably was not your son who was the issue.


        Chuck Zimmerman

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