Pilot Mountain News

Mayor: Just doing what’s best for town

This has been a difficult period for Pilot Mountain and its Board of Commissioners. The conclusion that a change in management was needed and could not be delayed any longer required a difficult decision but, as mayor, I sincerely believe it was the right one.

I knew that there would be reaction against it, especially by some board members who developed friendships with the former town manager and because of that, additional difficulties could ensue regardless of the timing of the action.

I think part of that reaction has taken the form of Facebook rants, vicariously seeking vengeance on me by attacking town initiatives such as the Depot Street Greenway and Lola Lane projects, and erroneous assertions about the town’s relationship with the Local Government Commission.

This is unfortunate; particularly in the case of the projects which are intended to provide essential infrastructure and environmental repair and should help Pilot Mountain become an even better place to live. These are not my projects, they are the citizens’. There has been board approval for them and community involvement. As changes to them are needed, approval will be sought again. No grant awards will be accepted or work begun without approval including the procurement of easements.

The implication that the town is in trouble with the Local Government Commission is simply not true. I was in conversation with Sharon Edmundson, Director of Fiscal Management Section last week along with our town attorney and newly appointed finance officer. She said the LGC was nowhere close to having discussions about taking over the town’s fiscal management. Moreover, she seemed unaware that the town had appointed a finance officer prior to her visit, much of which was devoted to telling the board that it needed one.

The board has made positive steps in this transition to new management. The appointment of an interim finance officer was an important step. Although the board directed the former manager to hire a finance officer in a special board meeting and was under the impression this would be done when Michael Boaz was hired, the manager retained the town clerk as finance officer. This was in spite of the manager’s insistence that the town clerk should not have the position of finance officer. It was only after the manager’s dismissal that Mr. Boaz was placed as finance officer by the board.

I have no problem at all with hard questions about policy and actions by the town or this board. I do believe though that we should be motivated by what we think best for the town and its people.

I look forward to this town moving forward with new management focused on customer service, financial stability, and improving the life of the people in our community.

Dwight Atkins,

Mayor, Town of Pilot Mountain