John Davis is mayor of Swansboro. His comments are in reference to a story by Jimmy Williams printed in the newspaper on Sept. 29. The story is posted on the Tideland News website.

Because the Tideland News chose to publish a story that failed to tell the whole story (“Mayor Facing Harsh Criticism”), I felt compelled to write this letter for the benefit of those who call Swansboro home.

In the months following Hurricane Florence, our board of commissioners began discussing the need for an emergency operations center (EOC). The current public safety building had been reported unsafe by our fire personnel prior to 2017. The board voted to contract the Wooten Engineering Company to provide a study on the needs of our community. The findings of this study as presented to the board indicated a need for a more robust structure for our first responders. Studies like this are the first step required to request grants and financial assistance.

Now that you have the appropriate background knowledge, all of which can be found in public record, let me put the events that followed in their proper perspective.

At a function Representative George Cleveland and I mutually attended, I had the opportunity to have a “hallway conversation” with him. As we discussed local needs in our state, I mentioned that Swansboro needs an emergency operations center, and asked if there might be funds available in the state budget for that purpose. Throughout the next weeks, I was able to speak to both Representative George Cleveland and Senator Mike Lazzara regarding the need for state funding to help finance the emergency operations center as referenced above. Representative Cleveland requested additional information, which I was happy to have sent to him. The information I requested our town manager provide to Rep. Cleveland was the report from the Wooten Company that had already been provided to and reviewed by the commissioners. The documents were all agenda-level documents published on the web for public viewing. Both Representative Cleveland and Senator Lazzara saw the importance of protecting our first responders and made a line-item budget request for the emergency operations center in Swansboro. There has been no location chosen; town staff and commissioners will work together on this, and commissioners will have the final say. The money is earmarked specifically for the municipality of Swansboro, which means a location inside the city limits must be chosen.

I firmly believe in the freedom of the press and its attempt to publish the truth, and I appreciate that we have a local newspaper. Many communities are not so fortunate. I hope we will continue to have a local newspaper covering the news next week, next month and for the years to come. But everybody knows there are two sides to every story. I am unsure why the Tideland News felt compelled to write a story that left out so many important details. What I am sure of is that I will take advantage of every chance I have to advocate for town we call home. There is a saying that luck is where preparation meets opportunity. I was prepared, and I had and took the opportunity to make an important request for our town. The result is potentially a life-saving emergency operations center that will serve our first responders, who selflessly serve our town, for many years to come.

Thank you for allowing me to set the record straight, and please, next time, if there is an issue with any action I am reported to have taken, just ask me about it.

(17) comments

David Collins

Believe I would have done the same . Sometimes you just gotta shake the bushes when faced with a dithering board . Hopefully new faces , eyes and grey matter will arrive on the scene .

Swasnboro_Native

There is no need for an EOC here. What we need is a new mayor. Take a hike.

David Collins

I beg to differ . An EOC would put town officials all in one big lump so as to feel the pulse of the town in trouble . That being said they can hold zoom meetings over their phones while triple masked and dither about till the all clear message comes out in a couple of weeks . Then they can tell all who will listen how they road out the storm at deaths door and by their wise decisions saved the town . A legend will be born and certainly worthy of a yearly 1/2 day off without pay . Not to leave out the option of renaming commemorative street signs in their honor .

Or , the whole thing collapses , no survivors and you can start over . Shiny , new and never dithered together before .

drewski

There are two sides to every story

I beleive the original story said that the harsh criticism was the fact the mayor did not inform all the board members of the "hallway conversation"

That's seems a glaring oversight. Or a deliberate snub. Getting a new building for the town with state funds is a boon by any measure. Common sense suggests such an initiative by the mayor, esp one that paid off is a credit to him. Petty political bickering is a credit to no one.

David Collins

It is an election , albeit a rather inconsequential one in the scheme of life but still an election . Thought this one would bring on the clowns with their signs , posters and spirited debates followed by uplifting assurances by the candidates that all would be good in this world if you push the button for me . Well , pretty much nothing . Other than a lame radio advert for mayor , silence . Guess if you do not say anything , you will have nothing to walk back .

Swasnboro_Native

We have a "Heritage Center" (That's never open) in a building that has withstood more hurricanes than most people who are living here now have ever been through. That building was used as the Town Hall for years and no one ever had a problem. The town has a dual function Fire/Police station that is more than well equipped for the issues at hand. The town has a Town Hall that was the Catholic Church which has also weather several storms. It's only failing is that goofy roof over the chapel. Finally, the Methodist Church seems willing to host anyone who will pay them. Again, this town is in no need of and EOC. It's a waste of money.

David Collins

Agree , Native , agree . The only thing is that politicians love “ legacy buildings “ . You know , the ones with names on them and pictures of dead people in the halls . Hard to beat that .

Jackie Gleason

Amazing….Davis did what anyone else would have done….had an opening….had an opportunity….pressed the flesh. Happens all the time….lots of people are sensitive…get over it. I find it interesting this paper chooses to publish two articles critical of Davis back to back. That’s why people don’t trust the media…..keep doing what you are doing….you have decided my vote by your actions.

Swasnboro_Native

Please inform Mr. Davis that when he becomes a person of integrity, then he won't be called out for not having any.

Jackie Gleason

…and you think every politician or one running for office has integrity?…get real and welcome to the real world….

David Collins

Nothing else going on in the BORO these days . Besides , Davis needs all the press he can garner . Name recognition and all that stuff . Everyone else is as silent as a grave . Foreshadowing of things to come ?

David Collins

Aw , everyone calm down . Let’s go to the DQ and get some of what they call ice cream .

Swasnboro_Native

JG: I am not so ignorant as to think that any politician has integrity. I am sure, in the job description, that a requirement is that you will forfeit your integrity to get what you want. You should be very careful about critiquing one's world view when you really cannot speak accurately to the topic. Also, when was the last time you saw a Republican advocate for more government? When the man learns that his signs need to be in his district and when he learns to communicate instead of doing back door deals that benefit him only (no really, it's true), then we can treat him with whatever respect he may warrant.

David Collins

And a example of a back door deed that benefited him only is ……..// ? Just one little one ?

noitall

Second try at this , If all emergency vehicles are grounded when wind velocity exceeds 45 mph then the "Center will do what ??? Seriously What will you do? I await an answer. and do not expect one. This is the same level of thinking that created the worthless docks Port of Swansboro.

noitall

HAVE WRITTEN SPECS FOR THIS CENTER BEEN REDUCED TO WRITING OR DOES Wooten HAVE A FREE HAND TO BUILD UNTIL THE FUNDS ARE GONE? i AWAIT YOUR ANSWER HAS WOOTEN EVER BUILT ONE? CAN WE LOOK AT IT? SHADES OF THE ONE MILLION B BUYBACK SCAM FOR SUNSET PARK, REMEMBER THAT ON? WELL THIS SOUNDS TOO SIMILIAR.

David Collins

In a few hours some of the folks will have their choices for representation known . Leadership , well ….. perhaps not so much . More than one successful candidate has been known to morph upon entering those hallowed halls . Must be something in the air system or water . Perhaps if they had to stand up behind those desks rather than cowering behind papers and screens a difference would be realized . You know , stay alert , stay alive at least for show .

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