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Letter to the Editor: It's about competency, not race

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Sunday, January 27, 2019

To allude to a crowd of citizens as mostly white at a called meeting with the City Council recently by Nehemiah Smith has no bearing on the reality of the mess our city is in.

The consistent documentation of fiscal mismanagement, biased recruiting and gross favoritism at high-dollar costs are reasons to be totally upset with the current leadership. The city manager’s leadership style and desire to replace competent employees with incompetent employees who lack the skill set to keep our city flourishing and attractive to new industries is costing taxpayers millions of dollars. No one can cry "Oh it is because she is black." There is nothing of color about her high dollar salary package but green.

Has the city manager demonstrated efficacy and efficiency in doing what is morally right in the treatment of all employees? Was she hired just to keep another African American at the helm without considering her background and competency ratings from previous positions? If any city manager or City Council has total control and can disregard laws, such exclusive style of management alleviates equity, balance and credibility. The City of Rocky Mount is not a private entity — all leadership must be held accountable to taxpaying citizens.

The City Council must acknowledge that a dereliction of duty in principle and due diligence has been ignored and breached. It is the responsibility of the council to insure that our city is on the rise not the slide.

Race has nothing to do with expertise and skills and yet out of her own mouth, race and her personal desires become more important than demonstrated competency in leadership of our police department.

We have many pot holes and unpaved streets, a sewage system that overflowed on a consistent basis in 2018, and city employees who have not had a decent wage increase while the city manager's friends enjoy six-figure salaries. How did Rocky Mount let this happen?

I don't question an $11 million Parks and Recreation budget, but I do question demoting the previous director and hiring a friend with zero experience in this specific area at a much higher salary. This type of disparity is totally wrong, illegal, and should be unacceptable.

Is Rochelle Small-Toney the proper fit for our City on the Rise? If City Council does not get this right, Rocky Mount will not rise above its decision to allow such flagrant miscarriage of justice go unchallenged at the Committee of the Whole. It’s a question of competency, not race.

Mary Ward

Rocky Mount

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