Document outlines teacher pay raises in budget deal – WRAL

Raleigh, N.C. — One of the most frequently asked questions about the pending state budget deal is how exactly the teacher pay raises would work.

Legislative leaders said Tuesday that teachers would get a raise that amounts to 7 percent on average. The actual percentage varies depending on how long someone has taught.

Representatives of the N.C. Association of Educators call the 7 percent number "inflated" because it counts longevity pay earned by those who have been teaching 10 years or more.

Longer-serving teachers, in particular, worry that they will see more modest pay raises without the current longevity pay scheme. (Source: Read more)

Letter to editor: Fool Me Once Shame On You, Fool Me Twice Shame On Me (Tarboro Town Council) by Melvin Muhammad Native of Tarboro NC

Greetings Family, Friends and Citizens of Tarboro,

I hope and pray that this letter find you all in the best of health and spirit.

I am penning this Open Letter hoping that it would help each of you move your and our town forward.

As most of you already know, Tarboro has been had, tricked and bamboozled.

I am not saying this to make mockery, I say it because it is the truth and sometimes the truth hurt. And I too along with many of you were hurt as you read what has been done to you, the citizens of Tarboro. First I will start by saying although everyone is innocent until proving guilty, several things are factual and that those things done caused Tarboro to lose revenue and many employees to lose their jobs and livelihood. Let me be clearer for some. As a former council member, who swore that I would work on behave and in the best interest of all those who voted for me and those who didn’t, I feel I may have let you down some. I say this because I was not the good steward that you elected me to be. But I must share that I did my best with what was provided to me. I am as upset as many of you, but since I am not there in Tarboro I can only do what I can. And what I can do is share with you that during my time on council I had suspicions of things going on like those listed in the state report. Many things I suspected myself, but I had no proof and the things that was told to me by others was held in confidentiality because they were afraid of retribution. One major thing that I would mention is that I did try a move, and that was to be the lone "Nay" voter against the past town manager pay raises and monthly vehicle allowance. Both which I didn’t believe was warranted or deserving.

To fast forward I would ask that each of you look at what has happened and try to picture this. On the advice of the past town manager we, the council were advised to cut jobs, reduce suggested raises and cut some programs. Before anyone say anything we were going by data that was provided to us, from the former town manager. But from the audit report a lot more data was not provided to us, by the former town manager, or at least not to me.

What has happened to you Tarboro is NO SMALL MATTER. Lives were effected and affected due to things listed in this report. Everything in the report, of only five years, is a shame and should be dealt with quickly. Tarboro If I was there I would be on the frontline pushing for the former town manager AND former mayor, former and recurrent council members to step up and share what they know of these five years and longer.

As for the current Mayor I would ask him to step down or to remove himself until this matter has "cleared" him of any wrong doing or I would seek out another avenue to have him removed. Tarboro I would also see if another audit could go further back. Tarboro your whole town has lost, not just individuals. Fact, again much of the money documented could have been used for much needed raises, jobs, programs or the reserves, something that is going down each year I think?

Tarboro this isn’t just the State, Edgecombe County, the IRS, or the NC employment commission’s fight, It is your fight! first and foremost!! You must also hold the current council accountable, you must demand that they represent each of you. You voted for them to lookout for you and your best interest. You, Tarboro, Must Tell Them That THEY MUST TAKE THE LEAD concerning the current mayor and his involvement. You Can’t Take A Chance With Him for the next couple of years Or can you? I think Your Odds would be better in Las Vegas!!!

Lastly, I would like to thank the former Finance Director, Tarboro you lost a good one. (By the way I haven’t read or heard much about the one that served years under the past town manager). Anyway, I continue thank Councilwoman Mrs. Faye Jordan for Serving the Citizen First, the Mayor Pro Tem Councilman Taro Knight, two other nameless council members, the current Town Manager, Chief of Police and other department heads and all town employees. None of you deserve this. Be Encouraged!

FYI I was never contacted by the state.

Melvin R. Muhammad
Former Councilman Ward #6
Proud Native of Tarboro, NC

Board warned about ‘Liking’ candidates – Wilson Times

The use of Social media has caused new concerns, conversations and definitions for State Boards of Elections across the country, including North Carolina.

There are new rules emerging for those who serve on local boards of elections when it comes to their social media activity and Wilson County is one of the first in North Carolina getting a taste of what the state board’s expectations are with the use of social media and elections board members.

A letter went out to the newly appointed Republican board member. Douglas Inscoe, on the new limitations placed on him and every other board member when it comes to social media.

The letter, dated July 29, came from Don Wright, general counsel to the State Board of Elections to Inscoe before he was sworn into office.

Wilson County officials received the warning first because of the past controversy involving a Tea Party member who served on the board and subsequent complaints of political activity made by two Democratic activists. That member resigned before a second hearing could take place on the state level. (Source: Read more)

Duke deal could spur development – Rocky Mount Telegram

The potential agreement between Duke Energy Progress and the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency could spur economic development in the area, local officials said.

According to Monday’s announcement, the deal is likely to reduce rates for the city’s 27,000 electric customers. The full extent of the impact is yet to be determined, but approval of the deal is set to be completed by the end of 2016. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and N.C. Utilities Commission must still approve the deal.

In the proposed deal, Duke Energy Progress agreed to pay $1.2 billion for N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency’s generating assets in five facilities as well as fuel inventories and spare parts. (Source: Read more)

Updated: Good News! Anthony Clark

image

Photo: March 9, 2013 at a NCREWG meeting in Warren County.

How ironic Anthony is standing in front of a photo of President Barack Obama. I first met Anthony when he had tickets for me and some others to get on the football field at NC Central University during Obama’s first campaign stop in NC.

Latest update: Katris Clark posted the following on her facebook page a couple of hours ago. “My daddy woke up…. thank God! He is in and out of consciousness because of his meds but is able to respond to instructions…and that’s a good thing!!”

Katris Clark posted the following on her facebook page today. “My daddy’s is out of surgery (triple bypass). The surgery itself went well. He’s still in recovery and hasn’t come around yet. Thank you to all that included him in your prayers… Please continue to pray for his recovery.”

Anthony is in Vidant Hospital former Pitt Memorial Hospital In Greenville NC.

The Word “I!” Hell Yeah I Can Use The Word “I!” Mr. James Moore Chief Rocky Mount Police Department

imageLast week I attended this forum and I found it to be quite interesting. I learned some things however much of it I was very much familiar with.

I remember back in the late 80’s I used to write lots of editorials and I believe they began with responding to former Highway Patrol T.C. Cherry and former Edgecombe County Commissioner when he used to write letters to editor. He wrote one about the old Winn Dixie on Fairview Road where the Roses is located now. He said folks were stealing and that the store would not be there long if it continued as it did. Yes it eventually closed. Well I said they better watch the folks working there because they could be major contributors to the items getting missing. This was one of the things that was emphasized during the presentation by the presenters during the forum crime from within.

I made a comment towards the end of the forum how I enjoyed the forum but why were not more ministers and others present to hear this? I know it was for businesses but everyone ought to be concerned about the crime on businesses. I took time off from my job to go hear the message. I said how could the message be conveyed to the folks not present because the people needed to know the impact of crime on businesses because everyone has a role they can play.

The lady presiding at the time thought it was a good question. Well the Rocky Mount Police Chief James Moore said the message is always in the newspaper and on the city website. I said everyone don’t get the newspaper and everyone don’t go to the city website. I said many folks tell me they don’t read the newspaper until they go to my blog to see what articles I have highlighted. I said but if it was presented at a church or some type of gathering where the people are they could get the message. I said I am always speaking up for Rocky Mount although I don’t live in Rocky Mount.

Chief Moore said well the forum today was for businesses and he didn’t want anyone to leave and forget that. I said ok however I was reading the newspaper on the way to the meeting and I seen where 9 – 15 new businesses (restaurants) were coming to Rocky Mount by the end of 2015 but the negative folks keep saying ain’t no businesses coming to Rocky Mount because of the crime.

Again I  was not ignant to the fact of what the forum was for and I was in no ways trying to make anyone leave and forget what the forum was for. I thought my damn comments were in line with what all he had said about Chicago and other places as he responded to a question by city manager Charles Penny. Hell much of his response to him and my comments were pretty much in line but I guess they were not. But some folks told me they appreciated my comments and that they truly thought I was on point. 

The Chief went on to say that he read my blog and that he didn’t have the convenience of using the word “I” so frequently. Well damn sir, I am representing myself and you are representing Rocky Mount Police Department so how in the hell can you compare me to you? Hell yeah I can say “I!” everyday because I am representing my views, opinions and etc. based on facts and not emotions only.

I usually video all the public events I attend however I was told that I couldn’t video this one. I wish I could have since I made a comment and could actually have played back word for word what the Chief said and what I said.

I learned during the forum that the Chief read my blog faithfully since he stated it during the forum. I feel so honored. So since the Chief read my blog, he should read this message however I am quite sure my haters will make sure he get to read it.

Now let me get back to doing what “I!” was doing. I have no problem with talking about what “I!” do because if I don’t talk about it who in the hell is? I can tell my story better than anyone else. I don’t need folks coming to my funeral talking about what I did because I am going to tell it all before I die so folks can’t stand up and say all these damn things about me after I am dead but was hating on me while I live. I know in the black community the myth is if you talk about what you do you are bragging and trying to make a name for yourself. Well call it what the hell ever because I am The Political Agitator and I am damn good at it.

Now haters, “Run and Tell That!”

Just Because I Hold My Head Up High And Be There For Other Folks You Don’t Know My Story

For the past 2 months I have been having to endure some things. On yesterday I received a confirmation that if you just trust, believe and keep the faith that things will work out.

Although a few weeks ago I was trying to figure out why I was going through this test, as the days went by my daddy revealed some things drastically and was coming so fast I couldn’t hardly stand it. Although I don’t serve him as I should, he has been so good to me.

Even in spite of all that I was going through, I was there volunteering my time with others while they were going through some things as well. You see when you are a strong black man you can carry not only your burdens but you can share in others burdens as well. I receive calls, emails, facebook messages and etc. from folks who have personal problems and they call me for advice and I respond to them although I have my own issues. But you see my joy comes from being a blessing to other folks. I truly believe I was put here for a short while to be a blessing to others and in return I receive my blessings even though it gets rough sometimes.

I wouldn’t give nothing for my journey because I know who I am and whose I am so you can come after me all you want but you better come correct because my daddy is a powerful man and he watches over me.

It is a bad feeling when folks ask you how you are doing and you are being strong and responding by saying it is all well. However it was the truth but the issue at hand was there even though I knew that things were going to work out, the road was not easy. I had to endure some things and had to be on my best behavior because I had to show some folks that I am a professional.

When I get weak, as I travel to and fro and when I am by myself, I listen to some good gospel music and it keeps me sane. Join me and listen to a song that speaks to what I have been through for the past 2 months. You Don’t Know My Story by John P. Kee

Wilson NC: $1.2 billion deal would cut NCEMPA debt 70 percent to about $480 million – Wilson Times

N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency and Duke Energy Progress agreed to a $1.2 billion deal officials believe could lead to lower electric bills for residential and business customers in the 32 cities and towns NCEMPA serves in eastern North Carolina.

The potentially landmark agreement would substantially reduce but not completely wipe out the much-publicized debt that’s driven up electric bills throughout the region.

The announcement came down Monday morning that both companies’ boards had signed off on a pact for Duke Energy to purchase NCEMPA’s generating assets.

"This is a big deal, in both size and impact,” said Grant W. Goings, Wilson city manager and member of the Electricities Board of Directors. "It is too early to project a specific rate decrease. We do not know exactly what our wholesale rates will be and NCEMPA has not yet determined how the remaining debt burden will be distributed among the 32 members.” (Source: Read More)

Tarboro NC – As I Read Some Ignant Comments On Tarboro 27886 Facebook Page, My Ignant Butt Trying To Figure Out How The Following Be Accusations/Allegations?

I strongly feel that Sarah Peveler is Right On! by starting a petition to ask the current Taboro Town Mayor Rick Page (former Electric Department Director) to step down since he will not do it on his own. Some say this is being the judge and jury. Hell I say it is common sense. The following is not accusations, nor allegations from what I read and comprehend however my ignant ass has been wrong before.

I didn’t make this mess up read it for yourself on The NC Auditor’s Website

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

3. FORMER ELECTRIC DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR (CURRENT MAYOR) MISREPRESENTED HEALTH INSURANCE PAYMENTS

The Town’s former Electric Department Director (Director) inappropriately received $27,770.55 in reimbursements for health insurance payments for his ex-wife after submitting documentation asserting that the health insurance was for him. In addition, payments totaling $16,757.25 did not have taxes withheld as required by law.

Director Misrepresented Documents Submitted for Reimbursement
The Director (current Mayor) received reimbursements from the Town for payments for his ex-wife’s health insurance that he submitted as if it were for his own supplemental health insurance. He originally told investigators that he submitted documentation for payment each month and implied that it was for his health insurance. He later admitted that this documentation was for his ex-wife’s health insurance.

The former Town Manager approved a request from the Director approximately 14 years ago allowing the Director to forgo town-provided health insurance and instead directly receive the amount the Town would have paid for his health insurance premiums. The Director said he already received health insurance coverage as a military retiree and did not need the Town’s coverage. He claimed he intended to use the payment from the Town to purchase a supplemental policy for items that his military insurance did not cover; however, he did not buy a supplemental policy.

Town’s Failure to Withhold Taxes on Health Insurance
The Town failed to withhold taxes on $16,757.25 in payments provided to the Director after his retirement in May 2009. The payments represented the amount the Town would have paid for the Director’s health insurance after retirement if he had accepted the benefit. The Director did not submit reimbursement requests to show he had used the money to purchase health care insurance, meaning the payments should have been reported as income under the rules associated with a so-called non-accountable plan.5

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Town of Tarboro should require the former Electric Director (current Mayor) to repay $27,770.55 in misrepresented reimbursements for his ex-wife’s health insurance.

The Town of Tarboro should implement controls to ensure all benefits paid to employees are accurately recorded and reported in compliance with tax laws.

The Town of Tarboro should require financial arrangements outside of normal procedures to be approved by the Town Council.

5 Non-accountable plan defined—employer’s reimbursement or allowance arrangement that does not meet the following rules (IRS Publication 463):
1. Expenses must have a business connection
2. You must adequately account to your employer for these expenses

Sign The Petition

Rocky Mount NC – Happy 81st Birthday To Mr. & Mrs. William Hobbs

It is an honor and a pleasure to wish my friends Mr. William and Gardenia Hobbs on his 81st birthday. I have to mention both because when you see one you see both of them.

The Hobbs are the same folks I met back in the early 90’s however they have only changed by getting older and wiser.

The Hobbs have always had the best interest for Rocky Mount from the local/statewide government to the local school system although they have no children.

I could go on and on about the Hobbs but their work has spoken for them inspite of the haters.

Again I want to wish my friend Mr. William Hobbs a Happy and Blessed 81st birthday which was on Monday July 28, 2014.

Duke deal could lower power bills in eastern NC towns – WRAL

The Political Agitator response: I remember when the Northeastern NC Committee on the Affairs of Black People which consisted of Carol Batchelor, Lewis Turner, Andre Knight, myself and a few others had a community meeting about the utilities at Truth Tabernacle back in 1999 or early 2000’s. This is when we found out about there was such a thing called ElectriCities. The fight began at that time to do something about the high utility rates. Andre Knight went on to become a Rocky Mount City Councilman and also began serving on NCEMPA Board North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency after former Rocky Mount City Councilwoman and former NCEMPA board member Angela Bryant moved on to become a House of Representative and now a current Senator. Knight played a strong role in challenging ElectriCities to do something about the high utilities in the 32 cities. Rocky Mount lead a lawsuit and a couple cities started out with them but eventually backed out. Rocky Mount Councilman and NCEMPA board member Andre Knight was responsible for stopping former Tarboro Town Manager Sam Nobles from receiving $1500 a month to chair the NCEMPA board meetings while the other board members received nothing but a free meal from Parkers if they chose to go there after the meetings held in Wilson. Don’t want to leave out that we also played a role in the Common Ground meetings under the direction of now Councilwoman Chris Miller leadership as there were several meetings held about utilities.

Raleigh, N.C. — A Duke Energy unit has agreed to buy out the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency’s interests in power plants formerly owned by Progress Energy for $1.2 billion, officials said Monday.

NCEMPA has partial ownership interests in several plants, including the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant in Wake County, the Brunswick Nuclear Plant Units 1 and 2 in Brunswick County and the Mayo Plant Unit 1 and Roxboro Plant Unit 4, both in Person County.

Thirty-two municipalities belong to NCEMPA, including Apex, Wake Forest, Louisburg, Clayton, Smithfield, Rocky Mount and Wilson, and customers have complained for years about high electric rates because of they are still paying off debt incurred from building the power plants. (Source: Read more)

Edgecombe school board OKs personnel changes – Rocky Mount Telegram

TARBORO – In a relatively quick meeting Monday to deal with personnel, the Edgecombe County Board of Education approved 24 resignations while giving its OK to bring 24 new employees into the fold.

Called specifically for a closed session to discuss personnel, the board spent barely 20 minutes in closed session before returning to open session and unanimously approving its list of employee moves.

New to the system are 15 teachers, one administrator, seven other permanent hires and one temporary hire. (Source: Read more)

Sale of power plants raises hopes for lower electric rates – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator response: I remember when the Northeastern NC Committee on the Affairs of Black People which consisted of Carol Batchelor, Lewis Turner, Andre Knight, myself and a few others had a community meeting about the utilities at Truth Tabernacle back in the 1999 or early 2000’s. This is when we found out about there was such a thing called ElectriCities. The fight began at that time to do something about the high utility rates. Andre Knight went on to become a Rocky Mount City Councilman and also began serving on NCEMPA Board North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency after former Rocky Mount City Councilwoman and former NCEMPA board member Angela Bryant moved on to become a House of Representative and now a current Senator. Knight played a strong role in challenging ElectriCities to do something about the high utilities in the 32 cities. Rocky Mount lead a lawsuit and a couple cities started out with them but eventually backed out. Rocky Mount Councilman and NCEMPA board member Andre Knight was responsible for stopping former Tarboro Town Manager Sam Nobles from receiving $1500 a month to chair the NCEMPA board meetings while the other board members received nothing but a free meal from Parkers if they chose to go there after the meetings held in Wilson. Don’t want to leave out that we also played a role in the Common Ground meetings under the direction of now Councilwoman Chris Miller leadership as there were several meetings held about utilities.

While the full extent of the local impact is yet to be determined, Rocky Mount officials were thrilled about a deal that is likely to reduce rates for the city’s 27,000 electric customers.

“It is encouraging, but we are cautiously optimistic because all the I’s have to be dotted and the T’s have to be crossed before the deal is final,” Rocky Mount City Manager Charles Penny said. “We are one step closer and I hope our rate payers are encouraged because if this goes through, they should benefit.”

According to a Monday morning announcement, Duke Energy Progress agreed to pay $1.2 billion for N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency’s generating assets in five facilities as well as fuel inventories and spare parts. Rocky Mount is among 32 cities in the Power Agency that took on $3.6 billion in debt to build nuclear power plants and whose customers have worked to pay down that debt to about $1.9 billion during the past three decades. (Source: Read more)

Unlocking Your Cellphone Is About to Be Legal Again

A 2012 Copyright Office decision effectively outlawed the practice, which allows consumers to switch carriers without buying a new device, without carriers’ approval

President Barack Obama is set to sign into law a bill that will make it easier for you to switch mobile carriers without buying a new phone.

The bill, dubbed the “Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act,” makes it legal for Americans to unlock their cellphones without carriers’ permission. Unlocking a phone frees it for use with a wireless carrier other than the one on which it was initially sold. For example, if you bought your cellphone from AT&T, unlocking it could make it usable on T-Mobile. (Source: Read more)