Archived Story

Bailey apologizes, defends record

Published 11:13am Wednesday, May 22, 2013


ISLE OF WIGHT—An Isle of Wight County supervisor has refused a second demand to resign, despite a recent remark and controversial emails connected to him.

Vice Chairman Byron “Buzz” Bailey of the Newport District refused Chairwoman JoAnn Hall’s formal request on Monday he leave office.

She did so right after the board came out of a closed session that began the start of a scheduled budget work session. Hall said in retrospect she regrets any part she had in recent events, and believes that in order for the county to move forward it would be best for Bailey to step down.

In turn, he read a prepared letter of apology, which can be read here. For starters,

“I just wanted to write a letter of explanation and apologize to every person who was offended by my reference to: “Save your Confederate money, the South will rise again” and a couple of emails forwarded (not originated) by me. All these email jokes were hurtful in retrospect and I am sorry.”

Bailey goes onto point out how he’s been a friend and ally to the African-American community. He said neither Hall nor County Attorney Mark Popovitch, both recipients of some of the emails, has contacted him, and then concludes he’s not resigning:

“I think I have done a good job by holding down taxes and expenses and will continue my efforts for all concerned for the rest of my term.”

To that he told the audience, “I choose not to resign,” adding that other board members and people have pleaded with him not to step down.

“This conservative person is going to stay. Again, I am sorry about the ugly emails.”

The comment on printing money, and emails of crude humor he helped circulate as recently as March, are why Dottie Harris first called on Bailey to step down. This occurred during the public comment portion of last Thursday’s regular board meeting. He was not present due to an already scheduled absence.

Harris, who is president of the Isle of Wight County Chapter of the NAACP, said then she thought a remark he made on May 13 was “deeply hurtful to us,” referring to African-Americans in the county.

Bailey’s comment came during that budget work session. After hearing yet another department requesting more money for next year’s budget, he said, at one point, “I guess we could be like Washington and print some money here in Isle of Wight County. Save the Confederate money; the South will rise again.”

Although many people in attendance laughed in response, School Superintendent Katrise Perera reportedly left after hearing the comment.

Harris was given a copy of the letter Bailey wrote soon after to the school board explaining his remark “was a joke. It was meant to emphasize that IOW County was a short of money as the Confederacy.”

He continued by apologizing to Perera and anyone else who was offended by the comment.

Harris said she didn’t see the humor in it, and wasn’t convinced of Bailey’s sincerity in the letter. Nor was she amused by a printout of privately sent emails featuring crude humor. Most of them, which could be regarded as offensive, are about President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama.

The printout was first sent last Thursday to school board member Denise Tynes of the Smithfield District, who received them anonymously in her mail.

Harris pointed out Bailey’s personal e-mail address is shown as a circulating source to the private emails of other supervisors and county staff. School board member Herb DeGroft of the Hardy District is also listed as someone who passed along the emails. For that reason, the board has called on DeGroft to also resign. (See sidebar).

In response to Bailey’s open letter on Monday, Harris said, “In my opinion the apology was politics. I don’t feel that it was sincere, but superficial. I would hope that he would resign.”

She added that as chapter president she’ll have to call the state chapter or national headquarters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“It’s a discriminatory issue. I’m not going to let it go. I will do what I have to do,” Harris said.

  • JOHN

    well we can only hope that the SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN. but the best one is IF I HAD KNOWN THIS WOULD HAPPEN I WOULD HAVE PICKED THE DAM COTTON MYSELF. FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Let me just say i am sorry for all the things the white devil has done to the black man. To make up for it can i offer you a free boat ride HOME.

    Suggest Removal

    • spider68

      JOHN–You can also take your boat ride back, for if you are not Native American, this country is not yours either. You are ALL imigrants.

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    • toofunny

      Comments like this are just shocking in the twenty-first century. The only type of ship John needs to get on is a time machine back to whatever bygone era he came from. Wow…..

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  • Masknup

    It is due to organizations such as the NAACP, Rainbow PUSH, and other groups that racism is allowed to exist and prosper. Im sure no one in the IRS has ever denied their 501c4 status!

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    • spider68

      Masknup–I assume that organizations such as the Tea Party with their racist depictions of the President,the skinheads, the white knights of the KKK, and countless white superiority groups that have sprang up since President Obamas election all promote racial harmony. Do you believe that to be true?
      Also, check your history, and find out what the IRS did to the NAACP during Richard Nixons administration. Also none of the Tea Party groups were denied their 501c4 status. They were just scrutinized a little more.

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  • skooch

    @toofunny: I make fun at Obama because he is a joke not because he is Black.

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    • toofunny

      @skooch: So then I assume you think the racial content and “humor” of the e-mails that Mr. Bailey and Mr. DeGroft sent out was distasteful then? I don’t recall either of their punchlines being drawn from judgements on the quality of the job the president is doing. They were both racially based. So distasteful for public officials to be engaging in, right?

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  • SUBDOC03

    Bailey, I am pleased that you did not resign but I am disappointed you felt a need to apologize. You are entitled to free speech just like the next person. I am certain that the only reason you apologized was definitely not because of the Harris idiot; It was to keep you gainfully employed. The NAACP is a waste of breath to thousands and they bring shame to many. Harris again, should be cited for causing disharmony in the workforce and the county. She also attempted to bring disgrace to your good name. Thanks for rising above and being the better person. Harris just let others know that they cannot trust her because they may be next in line when they say something she does not like. I hope someone monitors her every action. I just despise people like her.

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  • Liberty With Responsibility

    Famous democrats made disgusting fun of Bush and Cheney, wishing they died horribly descriptive deaths. No one in the media cared a whit about defending them.

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  • momto2Js

    Ms. Harris needs to give it a rest. She wouldn’t have a problem if the jokes were about Bush, but you can’t make fun of Obama because he’s black. Every president gets joked on. Get over it already!

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    • toofunny

      The difference is that people made fun of Bush for his lack of intelligence. People make fun of the current president for his race. See how one is racism and one isn’t?

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  • Typhoon

    WHY! How terrible should an apology be given for what was said.I have said this many times myself and I would not apologize to any person for saying this including the persons by the name of dootie harris or jo an hall.

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