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Letters To THE EDITOR

By Staff
To the Editor:
I must admit to some sympathy with Don Davenport on his resignation as county manager. I was once in the same boat myself.
As the 1992 election returns were coming in, I had more than just the usual amount of interest. As the general counsel, or chief legal officer, of the N.C. Department of Human Resources in Republican Gov. Jim Martin's administration, I knew that if Republican Jim Gardner won the governor's race, I could reasonably expect to be asked to keep that position or to be offered a comparable or higher one in a Gardner administration. I knew that if Democrat Jim Hunt won, I was not likely to be part of the new administration.
As we all anticipated, the Hunt transition team told the secretary, assistant and deputy secretaries, general counsel, and director of public affairs of each department in state government to submit their resignations effective the first day of the new administration. Over the next several months, they systematically went through state government removing division directors, section chiefs, and other key administrative personnel to replace them with their own people. In my case, they asked me to remain temporarily as a consultant to handle a number of critical ongoing matters until their new general counsel arrived.
Elected officials have a responsibility to voters to enact policies that reflect the issues they ran on as candidates. To do this effectively, they need their key administrative figures to be on the same policy wavelength. Thus, it is quite normal in government to expect changes in such personnel when there is a major change in the perspective of the elected leadership.
Here in Beaufort County, Davenport was the key administrator who proposed budgets over the past few years that increased county spending, increased taxes, and reduced the county's emergency reserves in its fund balance. The new Republican majority was elected by the voters to change those policies, and it is reasonable to expect them to choose a county manager who shares their perspective. I suspect Davenport's feelings watching the 2002 election returns were much like mine watching the 1992 returns.
The former Democrat majority on the commission put Davenport in a particularly awkward position a few years ago when they bypassed the usual process of open budget workshops by all commissioners. The Democrats opted instead to construct the budget through one-on-one backroom meetings between Democrat commissioners and Davenport. Republican commissioners were not invited or even told about the backroom meetings.
If Davenport had refused to participate in this bizarre Democrat power play, he could have immediately put his job in jeopardy from the Democrats, but by going along with it, he risked destroying any possibility of having the necessary level of trust to serve any future Republican majority. That day has now arrived. Before Commissioner Frank Bonner continues his politicized statements on this resignation, he should remember that he was the Democrat former commission chairman who put Davenport in this difficult box.
STEVEN P. RADER
Washington
To the Editor:
Re: Sheriff Department "shiny cars" and recent purchase of four-wheel drive vehicle.
I have to speak up in response to recent comments printed in your newspaper concerning the Sheriff Department's recent purchase of a four-wheel drive vehicle it needed to replace an old one in the department's fleet. I also wish to respond about the comments made about "buying shiny cars."
When I read the cheap shot about shiny cars in today's newspaper, and yet in the same article the concern about crime by the same person, I remember Sheriff Jordan's Chevrolet that he drives currently has approximately 200,000 miles on it. To continue to keep crime down, it costs money. You cannot have it both ways. To have a great force, you have to equip it, and support it. The jail now is overcrowded almost all the time, and at some point, an incident could happen which would put the county in a potentially liable situation, not to mention other possibilities beyond anyone's control with the current jail facility.
As for the four-wheel drive that was purchased with drug seizure assets funds and not paid for by the county, I have this to say. Both federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have been allowed to do this by laws already passed, and have been for years. The four-wheel drive vehicle, which replaced a worn out one, was not paid for by taxpayer funds. The Ford Explorer in question is a much-needed vehicle in times like the floods, and getting in bad places where cruisers will not and cannot get to. After all, they do not grow marijuana on asphalt.
ROBERT E. FARISH JR.
Washington
To the Editor:
I am confused about "political correctness" and beg your indulgence to explain it to me. Is it "politically correct," when the state and federal government tax and sue a legal USA industry to death, given the state and feds cannot manage their budgets without it, and then use those same taxes, (Tobacco Settlement Money) to buy the Lowe's building so a German Company would agree to move into it tax-free for seven years?
Is this what is meant by "politically correct?"
CHUCK DANT
To the Editor:
On March 13, I had a situation that required the expertise and knowledge of a bank assistant. At a bank in the mall in Washington, I approached the desk of Mrs. Jeanie Stanley. She was very attentive, went out of her way to help and ease any anxiety I may have had.
She was not just doing her job, you knew immediately she was very professional, knew how to work with the public, and had a true feeling of compassion and understanding to work with you.
By the time I left her desk, I was at ease, situation solved, and grateful that at this time of stressful fear of war, poverty and disaccord there are still people like her with respect and integrity for their fellowman, and a willingness.
MABLE SATTERTHWAITE
Belhaven