This is the full video of the special meeting of the Macon County Commissioners with the Macon County Planning Board that took place in Franklin, NC on December 2, 2010. [Note: I am aware that certain speakers have been misidentified during my haste to get the video out...and will correct that in a future edition of the video. --Bobby Coggins]
Before the meeting convened, the Commissioners Board Room was packed wall to wall with standing room only for the special meeting of the Macon County Commissioners. Chairman of the Macon County Commissioners, Ronnie Beale, opened the meeting and gave a very brief overview of why this meeting had been called and announced that due to the size of the crowd, the meeting would again go into recess and reconvene one floor up in the large courtroom of the Macon County Courthouse. [Info on why this meeting was called]
It took about 15 minutes for everyone to move up the single set of stairs to the next floor and get settled in the large courtroom on the 4th floor. Members of the Macon County Planning Baord were seated in the 1st row.
The commissioners sat in the front of the courtroom and each spoke in turn, addressing their part in the events of November 22, 2010 that precipitated this meeting at the request of Lewis Penland, the chairman of the Macon County Planning Board, who objected to the appointment of Jimmy Goodman to the Board and the removal of Al Slagle by the County Commissioners.
Ronnie Beale, Chairman of the Macon County Commissioners, said that what happened last Monday night was not the way the business of the county is conducted in Macon County. During the meeting, he said that "When emotion takes over, good judgement can escape us all." He said that no one who wished to stay on an advisory board had ever been taken off, that Al Slagle was the first time this had happened. He offered a suggestion to the incoming board (members will be sworn in on the morning of December 6th and meet later that night) on a possible way to resolve this problem. He wants them to add two new seats to the Macon County Planning Board, and give one of them to Al Slagle. He said that this board could not do that because a public hearing is required to change the ordinance that establishes the structure and terms of the Planning Board.
Macon County Commissioner Bob Simpson said that in 2007, "Jimmy Goodman was pulled off the board politically. I was involved in it and I made a mistake that night I've regretted ever since. I've prided myself for not doing anything politically during my eight years, but I did do that.
"I righted a wrong. Mr Goodman needs to be put on that board. His way of thinking, his ideology of the community represents a tremendous amount of people in this county. They cannot be ignored, regardless. Jimmy's just one man among eight or nine."
During the meeting, Macon County Commissioner Brian McClellan said, "In my whole time on this board, there's only been one person that's ever been removed from a board that wanted to remain on the board, only one time, ever, until Monday night, and that was Jimmy Goodman. Two wrongs don't make a right. Again, we could have handled it much better. It was not anything having to do with (getting) Al off the board and I'm one hundred percent for getting him back on the board."
Vice Chairman of the Macon County commissioners, Jim Davis, said that he apologizes to everyone involved, including the people of Macon County County, for the way the vote last Monday was handled. He further stated, Three years ago "Jimmy Goodman was taken off the board, and the way it was done, it was not right. But the way we did it Monday night was not right either, and I apologize for that. It's not the way I wanted to end my career as a county commissioner for Macon County." He joined the other commissioners in praising Ronnie Beale's efforts to find a solution to the problem.
Macon County Commissioner Bobby Kuppers was the last of the commissioners to speak during the opening segment of the meeting, saying "Al, [addressing Al Slagle] what this county, this board put you through is unnacceptable. You have my apology for it, because it should never have happened. This is Macon County, North Carolina and we don't treat people that way.
"I can't go as far back in history as the people to my right. I can only speak to the two years I've been here. It has been my greatest honor in the two years I've served on this board to be a liaison to that group that is sitting on the front row, and if you think that we don't have diversity on our planning board, I would invite you to come to the next meeting. I would invite you to listen to them go at it. Then, I would like you to see them shake hands and walk out the door friends, all political agendas laid aside."
Lewis Penland, Chairman of the Macon County Planning Board, addressed the commissioners and among his remarks he said, "I respectfully request that you remove Mr Goodman from the Planning Board, and appoint Al Slagle in his place. I also request, that in the future, as has been the tradition of the planning board [sic] be consulted on any appointments to the board and their appointments be based on qualifications, not political affiliations."
After Lewis Penalnd spoke, Ronnie Beale added, "The planning board came to us...you need to know this...you've heard about a wrong being done right. The planning board came to us and asked that he step down. He was [not constructive?] to the board. That's the reason he was not put back on the board. It wasn't a political agenda at all. That was the reason."
Lewis Penland then introduced the members of the Planning Board to the crowd, including Al Slagle, although he technically isn't on the board, to sustained applause.
I'll be posting short videos of each speaker individually to You Tube over the next couple of days and will link to them from here...as well as replacing the above video with a version that correctly identifies the speakers. I apologize for those errors I made in my haste to get the video online.