Archived Story

Updike explains reasons for voting against contract

Published 9:47am Friday, August 31, 2012

To the Editor:

There are numerous reasons why I voted against Mr. Vernie Francis’ part-time job.

No one is more concerned about the safety of our citizens than I am, and I’m sure Mr. Francis does a good job, but I am also concerned about our tax dollars and feel the job of maintaining our towers and radios could be done by someone “in-house.”

I’m very disappointed with county officials about the handling of this situation. It looks to me like the tail is wagging the dog, and the only function for the Board of Supervisors seems to be to pay the bills and raise taxes.

Not only did the county officials not step up but they went out of their way to block the majority vote of the supervisors to do away with this position. They used closed-door politics to see that this not be carried out.

I asked that someone or some department take on the responsibility of looking after our communication system, and no department agreed, including the sheriff’s department.

Here are the reasons why I feel we should uphold the citizens’ request to do away with this position:

• The county signed a contract for this position that the board did not know anything about. No contracts should be signed without the board’s knowledge of it.

• The job wasn’t advertised

• All contracts should have at least two bids

• The communication system was put in in 2005. It has been looked after for seven years, and now when we are in financial trouble, it seems we have to hire a new employee to do that same job.

I would like to know the answers to the following questions:

• Who looked after the equipment while Mr. Francis was on vacation?

• Does Mr. Francis have a business license and insurance? If not, how can the county enter into a contract with him?

Glenn H. Updike
Southampton County Supervisor
Newsoms District

  • magpeach

    In reference to the comment made on the sheriff’s article page, Mr. Updike IS cleaning up his own back yard when he is standing up for the citizens of Southampton County. He represents Newsoms and the rest of the County very well. I can’t say the same for the other 6 supervisors, especially the newcomers who have been nothing but a huge dissapointment. I commend Mr. Updike for speaking the truth. And make no mistake…what he says is the absolute truth.

    Suggest Removal

  • kingradman

    GREAT QUESTIONS, its seems you are in minority! keep it up

    Suggest Removal

  • FromHere

    simplifyingit, you are positively, absolutely correct. I wholehearted agree with Mr. Updike also. I am ashamed of the cooperation our new sheriff has shown the board of supervisors and now I’m beginning to wonder about them when they made such a big deal out of the $1800 then just put it right back like it was.

    Suggest Removal

  • simplifyingit

    your answer to who did it while Vernie was sheriff??? Jim Covington was placed in charge of the system when it was installed and the fire & rescue depts were to call him when they needed a pager or radio repaired or replaced. He sent them out to Gately Communications for anything other than a knob replacement or something small. Upon his retirement, Gene Drewry was charged with the task, until Vernie retired.

    His business license is for his farming operation, which the 1800 a month is helping support. He used part of it for an “office” on his farm just a few months ago.

    Mr Updike…you will be unpopular and chided, but you are on the right track…keep pushing.

    Suggest Removal

  • RWH

    Thank you for stating your position and your points are well taken.

    Suggest Removal

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