Candidates differ over results of city probe – Rocky Mount Telegram

Candidates differ over results of city probe

See The Political Agitator’s response in RED.

Opinions over the independent review of City Hall are a mixed bag among candidates for mayor and City Council.

A report summary presented Monday to the Rocky Mount City Council by the law firm Nexsen Pruet found no malfeasance on the part of City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney while identifying low morale among department heads.

Also released Monday was an internal audit of the city’s relationship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The audit found the city has had to repay at least $320,000 over the past six years but now has better policies in place.

The incumbent and challenger in Ward 1 have differing views of the review.

Councilman Andre Knight comments were right on target.

Councilman Andre Knight said the independent law firm researched all complaints registered by staff and some city residents.

“The review revealed nothing conclusive about Mrs. Small-Toney’s leadership that is unethical or illegal,” Knight said. “Our focus now should be directed toward downtown development, affordable workforce housing and job development for all our citizens. It is time to move forward.”

Tarrick Pittman comments are too ludicrous. The instructions (areas of concerns) were right on point and covered what consist of job related items. What in the hell else would you want to add? Name the items.

Dude said talking about it came down to employee moral and a difference in managerial style. Ok and? Damn we got that in the report.

Damn anyone in their right mind know that the council will direct the department heads to put something in place to respond to the audit findings.

Dude say he going to send out a call to the community. Really? Who knows him? What in the hell has the council got to do with unifying Rocky Mount? The council is doing their jobs it is the Special Cs and the Safe Black Folk who are following them that is the problem. But they gonna find out if they are really safe.

Dude has teamed up with the Special Cs because they think he is their person to unseat Knight. How many of them can vote for him?

Tarrick Pittman said he hoped the audit would be independent without instruction from the council. The outcome came down to employee moral and a difference in managerial style.

“These problems can easily be corrected with proper training and feedback from employees and superiors,” Pittman said. “I am sending out a call to the community for patience and understanding as the state auditor completes her investigation. A unified Rocky Mount benefits everyone.”

The candidates for Ward 3 see the reports as giving the council something to work on, digging in the wrong places and questioning whether employees felt free to truly express themselves.

Councilman Richard Joyner comments were right on. Joyner has done a good job since being appointed last year.

Councilman Richard Joyner said the two audits have given the council some items to work on to overcome.

“There are things that have been invisible and unseen,” Joyner said. “They’ve been brought into the open and we can improve on them.”

Johnny Cunnigham comments are about as ignant as they come. Dude has no clue. The is the problem right there talking about letting the Rocky Mount Telegram reporting being the lead in the cause. Again the areas that the audit focused on is where the attention needed to be.

Dude has teamed up with the Special Cs and he is following their lead. They think he can unseat Joyner. Really?

Johnny Cunningham said the lawyers dug all around the “X” marking the spot, coming up with only fool’s gold.

“Not to dig deeper into the Telegram’s reports is not to find the truth,” Cunningham said.

Gwen Wilkins comments tickles the hell out of me because she had joined the Special Cs during a meeting by trying to attack Councilman Andre Knight hollering out Point of Order while he was talking. Damn she is already out of order so she would be sho nuff out of order if she was sitting at the table.

I find it interesting sister girl said she was relieved that the city manager. Sister girl said she felt employees were afraid to speak out. Well I would think that the employees should feel more job secured now.

Sister girl it is common practice that some employees are given the opportunity to resign vs being fired. But the issue is she has not fired anyone. I think it is a good thing to be given the option of being able to resign.

Gwen Wilkins said she was relieved to hear there was no malfeasance, but her gut tells her city employees were too afraid to expose their true opinions and feelings for fear of losing their jobs.

“Insofar as Rochelle Small-Toney not having terminated employees, we must consider employees may have been given the option to resign rather than be terminated and may have signed a confidentiality statement,” Wilkins said.

The three candidates for mayor said they weren’t surprised by the summary results.

Bronson Williams comments were on point.

Bronson Williams said he’s of the opinion the audit provided answers to the questions raised by members of the community and city employees.

“The findings as shared were expressed consistently further strengthen the validity of the report,” Williams said.

Kevin Jones comments so because you have worked in government and you were not surprised. So what in the hell does that suppose to mean? That is so generic.

Dude so are you saying an audit is not needed? Damn! I thought businesses and some other entities are required to do yearly audits.

Dude the people in Rocky Mount can’t fix it on October 8 because just because it is an election. The audit was about the City Manager and the damn city manager’s job will not be a part of the election.

Kevin Jones said having worked in government for several years, he wasn’t surprised by the summary.

“We don’t need an audit to know that things are broken at City Hall,” Jones said. “I believe that the people of Rocky Mount recognize this and will fix it on Oct. 8.”

Sandy Roberson comment tickles me because he said he was not surprised. Really? It was stated that they could not go too deep because it would get into personnel and exposing employees.

Sandy Roberson also said he isn’t surprised.

“While I would like the opportunity to read the report for my own edification, I am not particularly surprised by the reported outcome of the review,” Roberson said.

Lige Dauthridge comments are somewhat interesting. Dude said the results were expected. Really? That is not what you were hoping for.

Dude you say what about everything else? So here you go talking about what was reported in the newspaper. Really! So you and the others who think like you so y’all wanted to get to pick and choose what the auditors chose to look at. Really? What about Jesso leaving and what about the discrimination lawsuit? You tell us because it must be something you want told that obviously we don’t know.

Dude why did they need to ask questions to the auditor because it was clearly explained.

Dude the following is ludicrous, “The auditor even admitted to discussing results with the manager,” Daughtridge said. “This leads to the question, ‘Is this truly independent?’ We need leadership that is going to ask tough questions and challenge the status quo of government. Dude challenge who? 

My hope is this audit does not lead to a mass exodus of qualified experienced staff.” Dude so you know the qualifications of the staff there?

Lige Daughtridge, so far the only candidate to announce an intention to run in Ward 5, said the council directed Nexsen Pruet to limit its audit to specific areas.

“The results were expected,” Daughtridge said. “My question is what about everything else? This review did not touch on areas of concern that have been reported in the newspaper or provide the transparency citizens deserve. It did not touch on what appears to be excessive departures beyond natural attrition with new management. I find it interesting that John Jesso’s leaving was considered voluntary but why was there no mention of the discrimination lawsuit?”

Daughtridge said it was disturbing that the City Council didn’t ask any questions of the auditors during the public meeting.

“The auditor even admitted to discussing results with the manager,” Daughtridge said. “This leads to the question, ‘Is this truly independent?’ We need leadership that is going to ask tough questions and challenge the status quo of government. My hope is this audit does not lead to a mass exodus of qualified experienced staff.”