While the discussion of the conditions at the Nash County Detention Center remains a primary concern for both the Nash County Sheriff’s Office and Nash County commissioners, some commissioners are concerned about the false reports, especially regarding Chairman Robbie Davis, that are making the rounds on social media sites and in some other media outlets.
Commissioner Wayne Outlaw brought up the issue last week after he heard the presentations by Nash County staff and Sheriff’s Office staff regarding the conditions at the jail.
“If people would come to these meetings, they would get much better information than they do on social media,” Outlaw said. “If we walk away from this today and turn this issue back over to social media, we are making a tremendous mistake.”
Outlaw told representatives from the Sheriff’s Office that they should instead be working together to solve the issue.
“We need to be getting together as a group and continue to be transparent to the public, which is what we want to do,” he said. “Then maybe we can get this jail started back up. Maybe it won’t be 200 inmates to begin with; maybe it will be 100. But you know full well that we can’t solve the segregation and isolation issues in the next few months. That is going to depend on the Mosely report.”
In the meantime, Outlaw told the audience, social media should not be the forum for solving the issues.
“I encourage you today, when you leave this place, do not go on social media and make comments unless you have the information,” Outlaw said.
Outlaw then cited several instances of misinformation he had seen on social media and other media outlets.
One of the most concerning of these reports were comments about a roofing issue at one of the schools that Davis’ construction company had been involved in building several years ago. The roof had continuing problems with leaking and Davis was accused at the time of shoddy work.
However, those allegations have since been completely disproven. Yet the rumors persist and have come up again in connection with discussions of construction at the jail.
At a Dec. 11 meeting of the Nash County Board of Commissioners and the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education, school board member Doneva Chavis, who had been one of Davis’ most outspoken critics during the roof discussions, cleared up the matter once and for all before both boards.
At that meeting, Chavis defended her “frenemy,” Robbie Davis.
“We all had heartburn about that building,” Chavis said. “But I actually talked to Ann Collier and she confirmed that it was not a construction problem, it was a design problem. But even though it was a problem, Mr. Davis fixed it at no additional cost to the school board.”
Outlaw showed the clip with Chavis’ comments at Monday’s meeting to illustrate his point.
“I hope that will forever put that issue to bed,” Outlaw said. “He fixed that at a personal cost of $20,000.”
Outlaw said everyone involved needs to correct their actions and attitudes in dealing with the jail issue.
“We need to work together and stop demeaning people in any way. Be respectful and courteous to other people. If we do that, we will make a lot of progress in a very short period of time,” he said.
During an interview with the Telegram last week, Davis said that he tries to avoid social media sites because he feels they do not add value to the decision-making process regarding the jail. Davis said he wants the public to understand how the board of commissioners approaches decisions regarding the jail.
“We are looking only at the facts. We are not interested in what social media says,” Davis said. “We rely on our local media quite a bit to share with us what they see because they try to be objective and report both sides of the issue — but social media does not.”