Pitt: Power to the people

Published 1:02 am Sunday, October 30, 2011

William Pitt does not get much sleep, and it has nothing to do with caffeine or insomnia.

In addition to his responsibilities as a member of the Washington City Council, Pitt also works full-time as a 911 dispatcher with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and part-time with a convalescent ambulance service. In his free time, he is a basic life support instructor with Pitt County Memorial Hospital, a certified instructor/trainer with the American Red Cross and volunteers with the Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS.

“It seems like I don’t sleep,” Pitt admitted.

As he campaigns to return to the city council, Pitt is a firm believer in drawing “silent citizens” into the process of governing the community.

“In order for Washington to grow, it must be an inclusive community,” Pitt said. “The only way we’re going to solve the problems that we actually have and to put away the perceived problems is by everybody having a voice and everybody being drawn into it.”

For Pitt, “silent citizens” are voters who limit their participation to election day.

“In order for elected officials to be effective for everyone, all the citizens need to engage us, not just a select group. So it’s important that the citizens engage the council and that the council makes itself accessible and that it makes itself known to the public.”

When it comes to issues facing the council, Pitt puts drainage problems at the top of his list.

“We are essentially below sea level,” Pitt said. “We were very fortunate with Irene that we didn’t get any more damage than we did. But drainage is a major issue throughout the city of Washington. Drainage is not just a rainy-day issue.”

Pitt also believes that economic development is crucial to addressing multiple problems in the city.

“We’ve got to get our people back to work because our people are our tax base,” Pitt said. “The tax base allows us to work on our drainage. It allows us to add more police officers. It allows us to add more firefighters which, in turn, will lower our insurance rates.

“The thing that really most people desire right now is a job, and they desire a job with a living wage. Not just a minimum wage but a living wage. A wage they can actually live on, they can save, they can re-educate themselves to continue to move up the employment ladder.”

Regardless of the issue, Pitt firmly believes we can solve our problems by working together.

“In the long scheme of things, if we don’t fix everything as a group, it gets worse as a group,” Pitt concluded. “It’s up to everybody to fix it. Don’t stand on the side of the road and talk about it. Roll your sleeves up and get involved in it.”