OMG. Is Cumberland County on the road to becoming North Carolina’s “county of corruption?” Or, is our county leadership just overwhelmed and helplessly mired in a tradition of ignorance and mismanagement?
The recent situation involving the Cumberland County Work Force Development Program begs the question: Have our trusted county offi cials again turned a “blind eye” to blatant in-house waste, stupidity, neglect and mismanagement of Cumberland County taxpayer’s hard-earned money? Well, the answer to these questions will be forthcoming as we wait to see how the Cumberland County staff and elected officials deal with this sad disturbing situation.
One thing is for sure; county residents will need and deserve an explanation as to how the Cumberland County Work Force Development Program, under the direction of Geneva Mixon, could be so blatantly mishandled. Especially, under the oversight and stewardship of the recently retired, and honored, Cumberland County Deputy Director Juanita Pilgrim.
This is the near perfect example of why taxpayers are disgusted and frustrated with government, politicians and political hacks at all levels.
As Americans work, struggle, sacrifi ce and contend with swollen, unprecedented budget defi cits on the local, state and national levels, cutbacks, layoffs, benefi t reductions, rampant unemployment and tax increases, there remains an alarming reality that, in spite of a tough and tight economy, there is always plenty of taxpayer’s money to waste, steal, mismanage and squander away.
The Cumberland County Work Force Development situation recently brought to our attention demonstrates and accentuates such irresponsible behavior and our unsavory reality.
The question now is: Who will be held responsible and what is going to be done about it? After all, it certainly looks like all the Cumberland County foxes have been in charge of guarding Cumberland County’s hen houses. And, let it be known, Cumberland County residents are getting pretty fed up and weary of the “Oops, sorry. My bad!” defense and, the meted out “wink-wink, nod-nod, gentle slap on the wrist” justice.
Probably the most disturbing facet of this situation is that it surfaced in a red fl ag “anonymous” letter to Roger Shackleford, the North Carolina director of the organization. Anonymous? Why anonymous? Allocations refl ect that the County Manager, James Martin and some county commissioners were aware of the situation for nearly a year and took no action. After all, it’s not as if these were small subtle indiscretions. Think about it — a Cumberland County organization (mis)spends more than $18,000 on an out-of-county retreat at Fearrington Village and no one notices? Worse yet, no one objects? Oh, my aching wallet. Grant money designed to train military wives is returned to the state because it is not used. Really? We hear cries of nepotism and overbooking of the program so that no one is trained. Were we really paying people to oversee this program? What were there qualifi cations?
Worse still is that there was a designated 23-member Cumberland County board charged with the oversight of this organization where services are not rendered, grant money is not spent, crucial deadlines are ignored or missed and millions upon millions of taxpayers dollars are misspent, wasted and unaccounted for. What kind of board is this, and when are county leaders asking for their resignation?
Cumberland County residents will want to know: Who is responsible and what is going to be done about it? Yes, curious taxpayers and Cumberland County voters want to know!
Make no mistake about it, Up & Coming Weekly is a quality-of-life newspaper publication and this is a “quality-of-life” issue. Stay tuned. Thank you for reading.