Hi, I am Woody White, New Hanover County Commissioner. Recently, the way Commissioners and staff spend taxpayer money has been a hot topic. We have heard of pricey meals at fancy restaurants, private catering for a County speech, and Commissioners attending black tie parties, locally, while you – the taxpayer – picks up the tab.
Some Commissioners believe there should be no limits or oversight on their spending and that the rules we set for county employees should not apply to us. But I believe this sends the wrong message to dedicated people serving the citizens; it says that the rules are good for some, but not for elected officials. I think this is bad public policy, and it is wrong.
But this issue demonstrates a larger problem; If Commissioners can be careless and spend any amount of your money on themselves, then how can they be expected to make responsible decisions when deciding what your tax rate is, or how much money should go to the school system, the sheriff's office or the community college?
Serving in public office is a sacrifice in many ways, but it is also an incredible honor when your fellow citizens entrust their tax dollars to you to spend wisely. Commissioners should remember this, and we should live by the same rules we set for others. It's that simple.
And you should demand we do so.
Thank you for listening to me.
Emailed comments from viewers:
Thank you guys so much for keeping the pressure on the commissioners concerning spending policies. Woodie White couldn't have said it better when he mentioned trust on other matters when we can't even trust on fancy dinners. It's like they are rubbing it in our face when we are the ones who struggle to pay thousands of dollars in property taxes (which in 2013 they took the money out of my savings when I was a couple of months late and let me know after the withdrawl was made). That money could have been needed for an emergency!! And they spend it at Ruth's Chris when I haven't been able to go myself? We are not happy and they need to know it!
I have but one exhausting and long question to ask you all...the taxpayers of Wilmington and New Hanover County.
Why...why in the name of Voters Rights do you folks constantly endure the tactics and snobbery of your city/county leaders week after week/month after month/year after year, lending them way to do as they please, whenever they please, which in turn allows your leaders too...constantly ignore your concerns for one, and they put themselves above you all foremost????
For some reason...and for whatever reason that may be...the local citizens of your area seem to stand by the wayside and simply Hope a Knight in Shining Armor suddenly appears, and Poof!...straightens out all your Infrastructure issues and neglect from your Leaders.
This is the Real World and not some storyline with a happy ending heading your way...then a Huge Applause from the crowd as these issues get swiped away into the sunset.
Wake up Wilmington, because you as taxpaying citizens are there to Supervise your Elected Leaders...not the other way around as the story shows, with your climbing crime rates (for example) that simply go untouched by your Mayor and City Council.
Barfield is just stretching his wings taking what he considers "His" which in fact...it is Yours!!!
I fully agree with Woody Whites statement about NHC commisioners dining to excess at high end restaurants like Ruth Criss Steakhouse on the tax payers dime when there are other more reasonably priced ones nearby.