TO THE EDITOR:
I have been following the pending sale of the Carteret County Water System in the area north of Beaufort. It appears this decision was made in secret.
I have reviewed all the available formal meetings of the Carteret County Board of Commissioners (BOC) including closed sessions of the last 15 months and compared these dates with available emails concerning sale of the water system.
There is a peculiar clustering of the closed meetings and emails related to the sale of water system. This is particularly so around the BOC meetings of June 1, June 15, October 19, and November 16. For several days before and after these meetings emails concerning the water system were sent or received.
Unlike the sale of all other properties, no conversation about the sale of the water system could be found in the open meetings. Therefore I am left to assume these conversations either occurred during the closed sessions or did not occur at all which would beg the question as to whom is making decisions for the county.
Going back to the closed meetings, the excuse given for these closed meetings were not clearly compatible with the North Carolina General Statute rules except for one meeting September 21 which interestingly had no temporally associated emails concerning the water system.
The public is very concerned that they have not been informed about this process and in trying to track down some information have been left totally empty-handed.
The public continues to feel that it is imperative for the government, any government, to communicate effectively and transparently with the public who placed them in the position to deliberate and govern. To date this has not happened.
Let me re-ask the question once again. How did Carteret commissioners come to the view that the water system needed to be sold and who made that decision, was it by the staff or by the board of commissioners? Without knowing which of these the public is left to conclude that perhaps a third group of people are making these decisions. And that group is remaining silent.
The appearance is that there is a concerted effort by the staff and/ or the board of commissioners to keep the public in the dark concerning the financial aspects of the water system and its sale.
Only a few scattered details are apparent. In the March 15,2021 BOC meeting at 3:16:12 Mr. Chadwick stated “We elected to go out and seek bids.” When and where was that action taken? It isn’t in any of the minutes availabe to the public.
At the same meeting 2:31:44 the manager Tommy Burns was directly asked by Mr. Mansfield if the county solicited bids. Mr. Burns avoided a direct answer. When and where these conversations occurred is hidden from the public.
It is imperative that his cloak of secrecy be lifted to allow for an open conversation so that we can move Carteret County into the future in an honest transparent way. Tell us what you are doing. We can handle it.