Commissioners should embrace transparency

The situation with the county commissioner’s refusal to video tape their meetings gets curiouser all the time.

While speaking to a county commissioner about the GenX issue, I also asked about the vote to reject video recording the meetings. He told me that once they learned that Bladen Online had revoked their offer to record the meetings for public access, Commissioner Ashley Trivette had offered to recruit a group of local business owners, including herself, to sponsor the cost of the recording as a service to the citizens of Bladen County.

Yet after making that offer, two weeks later she instead voted against the motion to have the meetings recorded.

I don’t think it takes a genius to determine that Charles Ray Peterson convinced her to change her mind, since he has always opposed operating transparently. Peterson has pretty much been controlling Trivette, David Gooden, and Daniel Dowless since the day they joined the board. Russell Priest now seems to be doing Charles Ray’s bidding as well.

At least Chairman Ray Britt and Commissioners Cogdell and Bullock are willing to support an idea that would make their actions as elected officials on clear display for everyone to see. I know that Commissioner Munn-Goins does as well, although she was not in attendance when the vote was taken. As a citizen, that gives me the impression that they have the best interests of Bladen County citizens at heart, and that they have nothing to hide.

All of the commissioners need to realize that as the GenX crisis receives more statewide and national attention, their actions will be facing more and more public scrutiny with attention from both outside and inside Bladen County. As local lawsuits begin to be filed and the extent of the damage becomes wider and more expensive to deal with, the commissioners are going to be forced into a choice between protecting county citizens or abetting Chemours/DuPont as they contaminate our water, land, air, and food.

Charles Ray Peterson has already made his choice clear — he stands with DuPont and against us. Hopefully Trivette, Dowless, Gooden, and Priest will not continue to make the same mistake of siding with Peterson and against informing and protecting Bladen County citizens, but their actions so far do not offer much hope of that.

Patsy Sheppard

Tar Heel