First of all I find it strange Mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates called the TV station to say she was going to respond to the embezzlement charges especially since she has hired an attorney. But then to know Mayor Oates I would say she is strange.
Mayor Oates says she is innocent and not guilty of the charges placed on her. She said everything she has done for the town was business related. She said that everything she did was in the budget line item and approved by the former town manager Victor Marrow. Marrow resigned his post in 2012. Mayor Oates, Purvis-Andrews and Commissioner Calvin Sherrod replaced Marrow with Maggie Boyd as the interim town manager who had no experience. But she didn’t need any as long as she was a former commissioner and close to these 3.
Mayor Oates says the files were removed from the town hall by the Local Government Commission without the manager and the governing board knowledge. When LGC took over the books in 2012 Boyd was the manager. Mayor Oates says she is not responsible for any files and receipts being taken from the town without her knowledge. She said Marrow was responsible for the approval of her mess and that he had to sign off on everything. Oates says they are trying to talk about what happened in 2010 in 2012-2013 after all of the files were missing and she is not responsible for them being missing.
Oates say others departments uses credit cards and the previous administration but they target Mayor Oates. She says everything she has done during her 2 terms in office has been for the best interest of the citizens. She said although there has been many interruptions she still worked for the best interest of the citizens. She says she has never committed a crime. Oates give the mic to her Mayor Pro-tem.
Mayor Isabelle Purvis-Andrews said Mayor Oates had the habit of keeping a sandwich bag full of receipts and she turned them in to the manager or the finance officer. Files and documents had been removed, computers tampered with and bad behavior after they no longer wanted her to be Mayor.
Mayor Oates said during her term they have brought a health center, a Dollar General, SEMS the largest metal company in the world and that their goal was to bring economic development to Princeville. She apologized for all of the interruptions.
Mayor Oates when addressing specific questions from the media she said the files were in the town hall before LGC came in. She said there was no problem with the budget the LGC is talking about improper receipts. She says the receipts were Victor Marrow responsibility at that time.
Viola Harris a local Edgecombe County Commissioner and a member of the LGC addressed the media and stated that the LGC does not go around the state trying frame towns. She said the LGC had to take over because of the financial situation and they are only present to assist the town until they get back on track.
As always Mayor Oates has her husband to do the opening prayer. Mayor Oates then wanted to read a statement concerning her charges and Commissioner Gwendolyn Knight told her she could not do that at the present time and Commissioner Ann Howell 2nd the motion. Mayor Oates got sho nuff ignant and said she was going to do it and beating her gavel saying she was in charge. The board attorney told the Mayor a motion was on the floor and she said she was not going to do the motion that they could. After several minutes of discussion it was decided that Mayor Oates could read her statement during the commissioner’s comments.
Mayor Oates tried to get the agenda approved for several meetings dating back to May, June, July and the motion failed. After a short heated discussion and the Mayor beating her gavel saying don’t override the Mayor while she is talking They went on with the current agenda.
During the police chief report Commissioner Calvin Sherrod had several questions. I found one of his questions about to the chief to be a valid one but the chief never answered Sherrod. The question was why were 2 officers eating over in Tarboro and the town being left attended. The police chief got very defensive and said it would be nice for Sherrod to give him some credit about the good things he is doing and not always criticizing him. Again I repeat I feel that was a valid question.