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.