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Council to revisit board’s residency rule

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Rocky Mount City Council will soon decide whether to excuse a city commission member appointed in violation of city municipal code or rewrite the rules to allow him to stay.

Curmilus Dancy has served on the Rocky Mount Human Relations Commission for nearly a year. He's the designated representative of the local NAACP.

His appointment is a violation of the city ordinance that established the commission. Dancy lives in Pinetops. All 13 members of the commission are required to live within the city limits, according to Section 2, Division 4 of the city's Code of Ordinances, which established the commission.

Speaking through city spokeswoman Tameka Kenan-Norman, Mayor Pro Tem Tom Rogers said the council will soon determine a course of action.

"The council will look into this matter at an upcoming council meeting," Rogers said.

Councilman Andre Knight, who is also president of the local chapter of the NAACP, said since Dancy was to be the NAACP representative, he didn't consider the residency requirement when passing along the organization's recommendation to the city clerk.

After the residency requirement was pointed out to Knight by the Telegram, he said the council would just have to change it.

"It's an ordinance, we make changes to those all the time," Knight said. "It's what the council does."

While he doesn't live in Rocky Mount, Dancy has ties to the city. He is a longtime employee at Honeywell and has been active in politics since the 1980s.

Nash County Commissioner Mary Wells, who serves as chairwoman of the commission, said she objected to Dancy's placement on the board due to his residency status when he was appointed, but she was ignored by City Hall.

But it's not just a residency requirement that has commission members worried.

"I get along fine with Mr. Dancy," Wells said. "But with him, it's always a race issue when sometimes it just comes down to common sense."

Another member of the commission said Dancy's presence has had a chilling effect at monthly meetings.

The stated purpose of the commission is to promote understanding, respect and harmony among all people.

Dancy appears to contradict all three tenets with his public online statements.

Dancy operates a website and Facebook page on which he brags about being an agitator. He makes repeated references to white people being “Special C's” and black people that he disagrees with are labeled “Safe Black Folk.”

Dancy told a black resident who spoke out about City Hall to remember where he came from. "...folk better not get ignant and forget who have helped them along the way," Dancy posted to an online Telegram article.

On Feb. 15, Dancy shared a Facebook meme that states: "Sometimes you gotta do shit the old you would do. So mfers know not to play with the new you!"

The meme was accompanied by Dancy's internet catchphrase "Ab so damn lute ly!"

Dancy posted his philosophy on rules: "They always change the rules, once we learn the system they want to change it. The system works when you work the system. Some of us are damn good at it and that is what pisses them the hell off. Well! They may as well get the hell over it because some of us know how to work it and stay legal."

Dancy's internet rhetoric goes beyond racially intoned language into misogyny. When a white businesswomen announced she was leaving downtown, Dancy's online reaction was: "glad to see you are leaving from downtown don't need you down there." He titled his post "Another one bites the dust."

Another woman with whom Dancy disagrees, he accused of having extramarital affairs. He repeated a rumor that a married man died at this woman's house.

"It was on the street they were going together," Dancy posted. "Damn makes me wonded who else is she may be going with."

Dancy was emailed specific questions seeking comment for this story that he ignored, instead posting to his website a string of Facebook messages with the reporter trying to get him to answer questions on the record. Dancy has posted comments calling the reporter a "punk ass" and "jackleg," and stating the reporter should be fired.

"That's how he operates," said a commission member who asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation. "He insults people. He intimidates them. He scares them with the threat of calling them racist if they disagree with him on what to eat for lunch. He's free to say whatever he wants, of course. But as a member of the commission, he is embarrassing. And he's hurting the city's attempt to bring people together."

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