Excessive public service questioned

By Vicki Hyatt | Feb 23, 2014

A small group of taxpayers is questioning a recent county commissioner appointment and have even suggested jail time may be in order for an individual who may be serving on too many boards.

At its Feb. 17 meeting, the Haywood County Board of Commissioners considered 15 applicants to the Board of Equalization and Review, a commission that meets as needed to consider whether the several-inch thick schedule of values and the Machinery Act of North Carolina has been applied correctly in cases where property owners appeal their taxes.

Waynesville resident Mary Ann Enloe has served on the board since 1999 and was reappointed as one of seven board members.

On Feb. 20, Monroe Miller, who regularly attends numerous government meetings in the county, questioned Enloe’s appointment in light of a state law that limits the number of elective or appointive government offices a person can hold to no more than two.

Enloe serves on the Haywood Community College Board of Trustees, a position to which she was appointed in 2013 and served as the chairman of the Haywood County Fairgrounds board, a nonprofit 501-c-3 organization that oversees activities at the facility.

“It looks like the first time she violated this NC General Statue was when the commissioners appointed her to the HCC Board of Trustees,” Miller wrote in an email to government officials, the press and others. “It would be interesting to go back and determine how many of her votes on the HCC Board of Trustees were valid during this interval. … Is this a jail-able offense?”

County Commission Chairman Mark Swanger said it was not immediately clear that the fairgrounds board, which oversees a nonprofit entity, fell under the statute, which references elected and appointed offices in state or local government. As a nonprofit entity, the fairgrounds governing board is neither, though the county does own the property on which the buildings are located, and has provided capital improvement and operating funds in past years.

When the issue was first raised, Enloe stepped down from the fairgrounds board.

“I believe it is necessary that I resign immediately from the Haywood County Fairgrounds Board, Inc.” Enloe wrote. “It is not immediately clear whether or not the fairgrounds board is ruled by G. S. 128-1.1. However, I do not in any way intend to cause embarrassment to the board of county commissioners, the fairgrounds board, or to myself. Therefore it is the better part of valor that I remove myself from the fairgrounds board.”

In addition to Miller, Denny King, who has twice run for county commissioner, sent emails to Interim County Manager Ira Dove requesting the list of boards Enloe was serving on in 2011 and asking whether her appointment to the board of equalization and review was in error.

Miller has sent the emails to both Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher and Waynesville Police Chief Bill Hollingsed.

David Teague, the county’s public information officer, said the county is consulting with the N.C. School of Government on the matter.

 

 

Comments (12)
Posted by: Beth G. Johnson | Feb 24, 2014 10:35

From this article it seems that the county's Board of Commissioners are honestly trying to provide leadership to many county boards.  The law is open to interpretations over the exact nature of a position of trust or governmental body.  The mention of a 'jail-able' offense in connection with a person trying to do her civic duty is mean-spirited to say the least.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Feb 24, 2014 21:56

"From this article it seems..." -- Yes, indeed.  But is this article slanted?  This article is published by the same people who advocated the public to pressure a Republican to change her position on the TDA tax - front page news story.  And by the same people who advocated the issues of the Moral Monday protest as a news story.  From this article alone, yes, it does seem mean-spirited.  But I'd like to hear why there is such passion as to why someone would go so far as to suggest jail-time for her participation in public service.  Is Ms. Enloe a Democrat who has somehow wronged Republicans?  (I'm curious if the "small group of taxpayers" have something in common: like perhaps they are all Republicans?)  Is there reason to believe that there was a willful disregard for that 2-position limit or that some might ignore the law?  Is there some kind of lasting animosity from some leftover issue when Hazelwood was annexed by Waynesville?  Is there some angst that Ms. Enloe will write more articles for this paper?  I've only followed the politics in Waynesville now for a short time and this article doesn't tell us why there is objection to her over-participation.  Maybe one just has to know the players personally or their history in politics to understand?  (Even so, I would appreciate more detail so that one doesn't have to live in Waynesville for 10 years to understand the issue.)

 

What is also not clear... If there is a violation here, would it be Ms. Enloe or those that appointed her that would be culpable?  But jail-time?  Seriously?  There's something else going on here I'll bet.

 

Also, it would be interesting if the following can be interpreted any other way (that Mr. Swanger suggests is not clear)...

 

"Any person who holds an appointive office (It's said that Ms. Enloe is "appointed"), place of trust or profit in State or local government (if one is appointed by the authority of State or local government, then by extension of its powers, the appointed person is therefore State or local government) is hereby authorized by the General Assembly, pursuant to Article VI, Sec. 9 of the North Carolina Constitution, to hold concurrently one other appointive office, place of trust or profit, or an elective office in either State or local government."

 

Ms. Enloe resigned the position.  In itself, she did the right thing.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Feb 25, 2014 08:26

             I don't believe Vicky Hyatt is biased.

             As OUR first protectors of Liberty, OUR "free press" has an obligation to inform US when OUR Liberties are being attacked.

             There is no excuse for local governments to not know and follow stated laws.

 

             C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Feb 25, 2014 09:05

"I don't believe Vicky Hyatt is biased." -- There's nothing here that says that she is.  Anytime a name being dragged through the mud is a public event, that causes me extra diligence forming my opinion.  It is what sparked my interest in local politics when a NC Representative made front page news with an unflattering perspective in this publication.  The fact that above Ms. Johnson read the article and formed an opinion that people were being mean-spirited could be an indication that the wrong facts were emphasized in the writing.  I too read this and thought it could be interpreted as some mean people are unfairly picking on some nice, innocent soul.  And that could be the case.  But it's a serious issue and mean-spirited or not, why are a small group of taxpayers taking such a passionate position?  Is the purpose of the article to tell us that a potential problem exists?  Or to suggest some people are mean-spirited?  Or both?

 

Picking up on your second point, "There is no excuse for local governments to not know and follow stated laws." -- perhaps that is where the focus of the story should lie.  The text of the law that I posted seems plainly stated to me.  Why is there uncertainly?  Take out the "mean-spirited" content so as to not dilute the real story here.



Posted by: Vicki Hyatt | Feb 25, 2014 09:53

Scott,

While the dual appointment statutory language may seem simple, it really isn't. The fact that the county fairgrounds board is a nonprofit 501-c-3 organization may put it outside the state or local government realm. In past years, the county routinely gave money to nonprofit efforts, and in the future, the county will be giving funds earmarked for economic development to an effort overseen by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce. It is an issue that needs interpretation. The one person (out of three) that I've successfully reached at the N.C. School of Government said she didn't believe a nonprofit board appointment would count toward the dual appointment statute. If that is the case, this is really a non story.

As far as why the issue was raised, I would speculate it dates back to a Board of Equalization ruling regarding Denny King's property. There is archive information on this website on that issue you may find interesting. I would also speculate it dates back to the fairgrounds upgrade. Monroe Miller's research found the certificate of occupancy for the newest building on the fairgrounds property had only a temporary certificate of occupancy. Fairgrounds board members were faced with the decision of making costly upgrades or abandoning use of the building. When the county decided there was too much invested in the facility to discontinue its use, they provided funds for the upgrade, something those who raised the issue in the first place decried as irresponsible. That saga, too, can be found in archive stories.

Vicki Hyatt




Posted by: Scott Lilly | Feb 25, 2014 10:38

"may put it outside the state or local government realm" -- If a government APPOINTS someone to a board/commission, then they have authority of the government that appointed them.  If the government should have no role in the 501-c-3 organization, then what business do they have appointing someone there in the first place?

 

I found this on haywoodnc.net: "The Haywood County Fairgrounds Board is a committee whose members are appointed by the Haywood County Board of Commissioners."  So it's by the authority of Haywood County Board of Commissioners that the Haywood County Fairgrounds Board exists and is empowered to hire the fairgrounds manager.  I can't see how county government appointing someone to a board can escape definition of "appointed office".  But please do report what the one person says on the matter.  I'd find it fascinating how it can be argued otherwise.

 

"speculate it dates back to a Board of Equalization ruling regarding Denny King's property" -- That would explain it.  So it could be that Ms. Enloe made a decision on Mr. King's property that Mr. King did not appreciate.  And if Ms. Enloe made a decision while she should not have been on that board, Mr. King might want a re-trial, so to speak, on whatever business he had before the board.  That would be an interesting issue for sure.

 

The same thing would apply for the decision to invest funds in the fairgrounds building upgrade.   If Ms. Enloe was in error deciding that issue, the opponents would be understandably upset in a decision that might not have been valid.  In that case damage was done and can't be undone.  Now it makes sense that "punishment" is proposed -- if Ms. Enloe's participation was knowingly in error by her or those that appointed her.  I wonder if that perspective would change Ms. Johnson's opinion that this is mean-spirited?

 

Take the mean-spirited aspect out of this story, this could be a mess and one heck of a "saga".  This has the same feeling when a District Attorney is caught faking evidence and it throws all cases he was involved before in question.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Feb 25, 2014 10:51

Not sure if the 501c3 practices open meetings.  But from what I read, it's also a question that should be considered: if a 501c3 whose board is selected by government should be subject to open meeting laws.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Feb 26, 2014 10:09

             OUR duly elected representatives must abide by OUR constitutions. No exceptions.

              The author of this article is listed as "Vicky Hyatt". Yes Mr. Lilly, you did claim she was biased in her reporting. So far you have not proven any bias in her reporting whatsoever. You need to apoligize or prove your accussations.

 

                 C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Feb 26, 2014 13:50

"Yes Mr. Lilly, you did claim she was biased in her reporting." -- I made a claim that reporting of PREVIOUS articles were biased.  (I have stated the specifics in historical comments on those articles and others have also done the same.)  I stand by that claim.  I made no claim that THIS article is biased -- although I presented a question as to if it were biased.

 

"prove your accussations (sic)" --  One cannot prove an opinion.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Feb 27, 2014 11:08

          From your first post on this site:"Yes, indeed.  But is this article slanted?  This article is published by the same people who advocated the public to pressure a Republican to change her position on the TDA tax - front page news story.  And by the same people who advocated the issues of the Moral Monday protest as a news story.  From this article alone, yes, it does seem mean-spirited."

           From your 7th post:"Take the mean-spirited aspect out of this story, this could be a mess and one heck of a "saga".  This has the same feeling when a District Attorney is caught faking evidence and it throws all cases he was involved before in question."

             Again, you owe the "people" who have reported on this story an apology. It is you who have claimed their reporting was "mean-spirited" and in comparison to "a District Attorney is caught faking evidence and it throws all cases he was involved in before in question". This accussation needs an explanation with factual examples or an apoligy.

                C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Feb 27, 2014 12:35

"The mention of a 'jail-able' offense in connection with a person trying to do her civic duty is mean-spirited to say the least." -- Ms. Johnson derived the term "mean-spirited" in the first post.  I agreed with her that the way the story reads does suggest an element of "mean-spiritedness".  Why do we both get that feeling after reading the story?  Was the story purposefully written to convey that feeling?  Or was that an inadvertent byproduct of telling facts or perhaps only select facts?  As some follow-up facts were revealed as the "back story", it might be appropriate to bring up the subject of "punishment" for harm that can't be undone.  (Who is to judge if that is appropriate?)  If Mr. Miller or Mr. King wrote the story, it's likely the reader would not get the same feeling of "mean-spiritedness" as Ms. Johnson and I got from reading the piece.  It's likely that if Mr. Miller and/or Mr. Monroe wrote the story the emphasis would be on some kind of failure that resulted in Ms. Enloe being over-committed.  Or that they might suggest this kind of "error" was deliberate in some way.

 

"This accussation (sic) needs an explanation with factual examples" -- When the DA for the Duke Lacross team was deemed unfit to prosecute, there was a messy effort to research all the cases he tried before to determine if there was any inappropriateness.  If Ms. Enloe is deemed to have participated in some boards/committees inappropriately, some research might have to be done to determine how she might have unduly influenced outcomes of her decisions.  (This is a circumstantial comparison of the "messy" process.  I make no suggestion that Ms. Enloe acted criminally as the Duke Lacross DA did.)



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Feb 28, 2014 08:35

              Gee. What a surprise.

 

               C.Z.



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