Maggie in midst of alderman search
MAGGIE VALLEY — By the end of its Monday meeting, the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen might very well have a newly minted member, but at this point, who that will be is anybody's guess.
The board is currently in the midst of an appointment process in the wake of longtime alderman Phil Aldridge's departure last month. Appointments to the board are nothing new (with recent appointees including former alderman Danya Vanhook and current alderman Mike Matthews), but just about everyone can agree that the process has been extremely sticky this go-round. With seven applicants, an unprecedented number, questions of fairness and backdoor dealings have been floating in the air — and spilling into public meetings.
At the board's Monday meeting, where five of the applicants showed up for interviews, things got a little tense when Steve Hurley sat down for a chat.
Hurley, who owns Hurley's Creekside Dining and Rhum Bar, had been openly backed by Matthews for weeks. When Matthews said as much in The Mountaineer and also stated that interviews for other applicants might not be necessary, a firestorm was ignited. This culminated in a board meeting where a few local residents were openly hostile toward Matthews. Hurley attempted to quell this animosity in his interview.
"I think it was a witch hunt," he said of the negative comments lobbed at Matthews. "I think it got out of hand."
There has been "a lot of backstabbing" on the board's part, Hurley added, aiming many of this comments squarely at Mayor Ron DeSimone. Hurley also refuted a rumor that Matthews had introduced him at a regional dinner as the new alderman.
"I do want to make this point clear: Not one time did Mr. Matthews say or introduce me as the next aldermen," Hurley said. "And I will put my hand on that Bible."
For the full story, click here or buy The Mountaineer from Friday, Sept. 14.