Letter to the Editor: Article unfair to board member

Published 11:39 am Friday, February 5, 2021

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To the editor:

I just finished reading the paper this week, and felt led to respond to an article with reference to one of our Mocksville Town Board members. I was very disappointed in the decidedly one-sided slant of the article. This was not an editorial piece where you, as editor, may write whatever you choose. This was written as factual and should have had some semblance of journalistic integrity. To merely quote the mayor is completely unacceptable. This is the second time I have felt the need to defend a friend and public servant from what is an unfair personal attack.

I have known Amy Vaughan-Jones for nearly all of my 57 years. We were in each other’s weddings. We have been there for each other for births and deaths and all the times in between. So admittedly, one would certainly expect me to defend her. But I submit that as a close friend for so many years, not many people know her better than I do and can speak to her character.  Amy is intelligent, she is determined, and she will look for truth in all things. When she told me she wanted to run for town board, my first question was “Why would you want to subject yourself to that?” Her answer was simple: She believed she could help. She has relentlessly tried to make sure every taxpayer dollar was maximized and not wasted. She has asked hard questions. She has not always maintained the status quo, but has worked to correct problems and offer solutions. In other words, she has done what we elected her to do.

One thing Mrs. Vaughan-Jones is not is a bully. Her career is working with children in our school system who need special guidance and assistance to be and do their best. She is relentless in her search for the truth, and her work ethic is always centered on the well-being of the children she works with. Their safety, protection and education has always been her number one priority. She works very long hours and is always available for her kids. Again, she is no bully, and anyone who knows her and works with her can tell you that.

I would respectfully ask that if an article is going to be printed in the future that is not going to include all sides, that you please include a disclaimer to that affect. The people who live in Mocksville and who pay taxes here deserve to know that there is a town board member who is doing the job. She should not be scrutinized for asking legitimate questions and searching for facts of the town manager interim or otherwise) or any of the staff. The town manager works for the town, and the board we elect are our voice. If any town board member is asking questions, they deserve to be answered truthfully and with full disclosure. Interpreting this as bullying is probably a good indicator that the person is not the right fit for the job. We elect the town board members to represent our best interests, make decisions on improvements to the town, and approve budgets that will best use the resources available to us. I am thankful for all those who serve on the board, as it takes a great deal of personal time with very little benefit. They should be appreciated, not unfairly attacked by the newspaper.

My last observation is with regard to the comment by our mayor that we will not be able to secure a good applicant for the job of town manager. That is simply ridiculous and irresponsible, and I take offense to his implication that any one board member is to blame for all the problems in the past. We pay a generous salary, we are located in a lovely part of the state, and our small town is a great place to live and raise a family. If the job is posted, there will be applicants. We should take our time to find the right person. He or she should be smart, honest, organized, and willing to manage each department of the town with integrity, fairness, and knowledge of personnel issues (annual reviews, training, performance improvement plans) and know how to plan a budget. There are plenty of good people with this skill set. What each board member and our town mayor needs to understand is that they will not always be in office. That seat is temporary. They work for the people in the town and no other concerns or political or personal interests should get in the way of that. Taking the time now to find the right person will pay dividends for us all in the future.

I know each of the town board members personally, and consider them my friends. I trust that they will have the patience to choose wisely, regardless of what is said by our Mayor or anyone else.

Angie Jordan,     Mocksville