"It's silly, it's inaccurate," said Dawson after seeing the email for herself following Monday's meeting. "It was a unanimous vote about our appointment to the CFCC Board, which means Skip Watkins, Woody White, all five of us voted for it. Nothing involving party politics is involved when it comes to appointments to boards. Woody said last year that he wanted to serve one more year, then roll off and let someone else serve."
In his comments during Monday's meeting, White noted that he never said he would step down from the CFCC Board. But, Commissioner Jonathan Barfield also mentioned White saying last year he wanted to come off the community college board. Dawson criticized White as not representing the commissioners during his time on that panel.
"We need a commissioner to represents the majority of the Board (of Commissioners)," Dawson said. "We are not there to micromanage. We are there to oversee and bring back information. We had a commissioner who does not support Cape Fear Community College, who does not support the decision of the voters who passed the community college bond. It was time for a change, to have a commissioner who truly represents us on the Board of CFCC. This is about doing what is best for this community."
"Fellow commissioners have never challenged a single decision I have made on the CFCC board of trustees," White said afterwards. "So it doesn't make sense that they wanted me off like she said."
Dawson went even further in her comments, blaming White for the email and giving the reason she thinks it happened.
"No one from the GOP called to get my side of the story," said Dawson. "I think it is being spun by Commissioner White. I think it stems from the fact that I will never support Woody White for anything ever again after he threatened me on the steps of the dais in June (of 2014). We were voting on a land planning issue…and the vote ended 2-2. Woody was upset I did not vote the way he wanted. I don't know if he had promised my vote to someone or what. He said 'there will be consequences for your actions'."
When asked about the incident, White immediately recalled the exchange Dawson referred to, but said it was not a threat. "I vaguely recall that she had ambushed (former commissioner) Tom Wolfe about an urban services boundary issue," White said. "The way she attacked him and the issue without bringing it up in agenda review, or giving him a heads up, she brought it up in a public meeting and tried to embarrass him."
White says Dawson was angry and approached him later that night about the incident with Wolfe. He questioned why she ambushed Wolfe and recalled saying 'Beth, you can't act this way. There are consequences for acting like this. You burn bridges and lose friendships'. White says he felt like it was appropriate in his role as then-Chairman of the County Commissioners.
White added that Dawson's husband was standing right there. "I have never threatened a woman in my life and would never." White says he thinks it's odd that Dawson is just now voicing these concerns a year and a half later.
Attempts to contact Michael Franklin, the Chairman of the New Hanover County Republican Party, were unsuccessful. He has not returned a voicemail message. When asked if he had anything to do with the email news release, White denied writing it.
"I do talk to the Republican Party, and agree with everything it says in there, but that's the extent of it," he said.
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