Craven County Board of Commissioners Meeting 5 August 2013
5 AUGUST 2013
My Petition on behalf of CCTA
Petition to the Craven County Board of Commissioners Meeting - 5 Aug 13
I'm Hal James, and I am a spokesman for the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association. I'm here to ask you not to set up the non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization for economic development that has been proposed by County Staff and the consultant hired to evaluate our economic development program.
These non-profit consortiums between government and private companies have a miserable record of failure everywhere they have been tried.
Let's start with the one involving the state of North Carolina, the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center. Auditors (thank God for auditors!) found that the nonprofit agency failed to provide proper oversight of millions in grants while paying its president $221,000 annually.North Carolina pays the State Secretary of Commerce $96,394. Additionally, the Center's vice-presidents were paid $130,000 and $120,000 annually. The center had earned $20 million in interest on taxpayer money placed in private banks and was holding it in reserve to pay salaries and benefits to its staff. Now the state of North Carolina is determined to get it back. HEY! IS IT ANY WONDER THESE STRAP-HANGERS LOVE NON-PROFITS!
The Governor called for the president of the center, Billy Ray Hall, and the Board Chairwoman to be replaced. There is a new Sheriff in town!
And what about the wonderful boondoggle of the Randy Partin Theatre in Rocky Mount? Another 501 (c) 3 consortium of government and private enterprise, it wasted God know how much taxpayer money!
Close to home, as a result of what auditors found, the president of the non-profit economic development agency in Lenoir County has been charged with embezzling close to $800,000. After an audit of the local Eastern Carolina Council of Governments, the president and the treasurer (who also ran a non-profit that contracted with these non-profit economic development agencies) resigned. Out of the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars that had been loaned out, only 4 of the loans had been repaid! It's only Taxpayer money!
Now we come to the North Carolina Eastern Region which is the inheritor of the legacy of Global TransPark. Its grant writing and business loan talent are no longer in demand, and its staff is fighting to stay alive and employed. They're choosing to do this by transforming into yet another non-profit 501 (c) 3 consortium of government and private companies with the ability to obtain taxpayer money.
I don't know how the various county Boards of Commissioners around the state have escaped culpability for failure to provide oversight of the 501 (c) 3 organizations after taking part in establishing them and then appointing members to serve on their boards.
Just look at this record of these 501 (c) 3 economic development agencies and the multiple ways they have misused and stolen taxpayers' money, and run don't walk away from this.
Thanks for listening.
No action was taken by the Board in regard to my petition.
The Board considered the Language Access Plan
This Plan is to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It affects all "programs or activities administered by Craven County." It benefits people with "Limited English Proficiency (LEA)." It requires the County to:
1) Promptly identify LEA people.
2) Obtain qualified interpreters.
3) Provide written translations.
4) Provide notice of availability in writing in a language they will understand that assistance is available free of charge, and the free service includes an interpreter.
5) Monitor language needs and implementation including procedures, reporting, and monitoring.
6) Resolve any complaints.
Of Course, the Board had "no choice" but to adopt this plan to avoid the wrath of the federal government.
The Board also considered Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
This program is also covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Language in this policy statement includes: "Craven County desires that every citizen be afforded the opportunity to select a home of his or her choice."
Obtaining these grants requires the county to accept the following Fair Housing Policy:
1) Receiving, acknowledging and informing the NC Human Relations Commission of all housing discrimination complaints, then assisting the commission in the investigation and reconciliation of the complaint.
2) Publicize that the Planning Director is the local official to contact with housing discrimination complaints.
Conduct of Officers, Employees, or Agent
No employee, office, or agent of the County will:
1) Solicit or accept any gratuity intended to influence contract awards.
2) Participate in the selection of contractors or contract with family members, partners, etc.
3) Accept gratuities from contractors.
4) Discipline offenders.
5) Take action to punish contractors who violate the policy.
Scattered Site Program
Local Economic Benefit for Low and Very Low Income Persons Plan
Requires the County to adopt the following resolutions, guidelines, plans and policies:
1) Housing Assistance Policy
2) Housing Work Contract Award Policy
3) Citizen Participation Plan
4) Residential Anti-displacement and Relocation Assistance Plan
5) Local Economic Benefit Plan for Low and Very Low Income Persons
6) Equal Employment and Procurement Policy
7) Policy Concerning Code of Conduct
8) Fair Housing Policy
9) Policy Prohibiting Use of Excessive Force
10) Temporary Relocation Policy
All these policies, etc., require the county to do the federal government's bidding on a lot of subjects. The requirements are written on normal printing paper that when stacked together are about a half inch thick. I won't bore you with more detail, but I do have a copy if you want to pursue it.
The feds will spend $750,000 of taxpayer money in Craven County this year on their CDBG Infrastructure Program. That program comes with many strings attached.
911 Radio Equipment Purchase
The final subject I want to cover is the request by Stanly Kite, Emergency Service Director, to obtain funding for 911 radio equipment. This request was for $256,305. Stanley told me after the meeting that vendors pressured him to replace all our 911 equipment with the latest and greatest equipment at a cost of around $4 million! It gets hard to be a good steward of taxpayer money, I am sure! We owe Stanley our appreciation for his efforts to get taxpayers the most bang for our bucks.
Hal James, Watchdog Committee Chairman
Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association
New Bern, North Carolina, 28560