The embarrassing rush to self-serve down at the Republican headquarters | Eastern North Carolina Now | Will we get a Register of Deeds from another Back Room deal?

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By:  Observer Editorial Team

The Beaufort County Republican Party seems to be eat up with embarrassment.  They seem to be oblivious to ethics, fair play and common sense.  Same as a lot of other politicians. These quasi politicians seem to believe they have not been elected to steer the Beaufort County Republican Party, they act as if they have been anointed….king or something close to it.

Attempting to take away Hood Richardson’s ex-officio status, and ejecting him from meetings, of the Executive Committee has not been enough to satisfy fearless leader---Carolyn Garris.  Richardson had not said a word when he was suddenly asked to leave. She is not satisfied with using the headquarters to campaign for her liberal darling, Fake Frankie Waters, while workers tell people not to vote for Stan Deatherage and Tandy Dunn.

A new incident involving lack of taste and ethics is now in progress.  On September 6th Jennifer Leggett Whitehurst, Register of Deeds, announced her retirement effective December 31 of this year.  When partisan offices become vacant for any reason the party that elected the person vacating the office selects someone to fill the position.  That is the law.  The position is filled by the executive committee of that party.  Mrs. Whitehurst is a Republican, so a Republican fills the position.

The general statute specifies that the party has up to 30 days after the position becomes vacant to nominate someone for appointment by the Board of Commissioners.  After that time, if no appointment is made, the Board of County Commissioners is empowered to fill the vacancy with whomever they please.

Carolyn Garris sent a notice to all of the members of the Beaufort Count y Republican Executive Committee two weeks after the date of Mrs. Whitehurst’s notice of her retirement was sent to Mrs. Garris.  Here is the embarrassing part.  Mrs. Garris’ notice clearly said, that we have one applicant but did not identify the applicant.  How do you get an applicant when a public notice has not been made?

Here is another indication of the lack of ethics of Carolyn Garris.  There was an executive committee meeting on Tuesday September 13.  Carolyn Garris did not announce the vacancy.  Why?

There is more embarrassment.  People who called Mrs. Garris were told that we already have an applicant.  One person told us “There was no use in seeking the job because this looks like a done deal.” 

Guess who the unidentified applicant is?  Carolyn Garrris.  We guess it took two weeks for her to get the support of the majority of the insiders on the Executive Committee.   This is a very high reward for someone who had never been to an executive committee meeting until she became chairman, and has never filled out a full term as chairman, and has unknown qualifications for the job.

Mrs. Garris is rushing to judgment.  She announced a vote is scheduled to take place on October 7th.  This is not a regularly scheduled executive committee meeting. 

Is this how ethical fair play is supposed to work?  For one thing every registered Republican in Beaufort County is eligible to apply for the job.  But Garris’ letter says the decision will be made October 7th.  But there has been no public notice, at least that we are aware of.  Many Republicans do not know when the decision will be made and what the selection procedure will be.  Rushing the votes shuts a lot of people out of consideration. 

Could it possibility be that the Insiders don’t want applicants to step forward?  Could it be that the decision has already been made in that infamous Back Room?

One would assume there are a number of Republican attorneys who specialize in property law and perhaps a number of Real Estate Agents who would be qualified and interested in serving.  But do they know about the vacancy? 

The general statute says the nomination to the Board of Commissioners’ appointment can be made up to 30 days after the “vacancy occurs.”  That means the vacancy is December 31, 2022 and the nomination must be made by January 31, 2023.  That means the GOP Executive Committee has four months to recruit, vet and decide.

Whitehurst is in the middle of her term.  It will expire in 2024 following the election in November.  At that time the individual appointed in this process will have to stand for election to continue in office beyond December 2024.

Nonetheless, the appointment has long term implications.  Historically, these executive positions like Register of Deeds, Clerk of Superior Court etc. have little competition.  But it is likely a Democrat will run in 2024 along with this appointee.  It is possible that an unaffiliated candidate(s) will join the battle.  It will then be up to the voters and with only a 40% plurality being required for election without a runoff, it could become interesting.

However, the advantage of running as an incumbent is enormous.  For that reason we expect there to be a real dog fight behind the scenes in the Beaufort County Republican Party over this nomination.  Moreover, the two Democrats on the Board of Commissioners may try to play the spoiler role if they get a chance with a split in Republicans on the Commission.  That possibility of a local internal fight may further split the GOP leadership at a crucial time, particularly in attracting unaffiliated voters and turning out the local Republican base.  For these reasons we will not be surprised if a “non-controversial” Dark Horse emerges as the nominee.

Beware; who the most qualified candidate is may very well be pushed aside and bare-knuckle politics may rule the day.

It is because of antics like this that the public does not trust politicians.  Is it any wonder this nation is in the shape it is in when greed is allowed to rule the day.  A person’s true character always becomes apparent when they are placed in a position of authority.  Garris can get away with this only by a majority vote of the Republican Executive Committee.  The question is how much strength of character and ethical practices does the leadership of the Beaufort County Republican Party have?

Maybe they are like Fake Frankie Waters.  He voted to give the telephone company that he ran, and of which he is a member, 4 million dollars of County money. Birds of a feather flock together.

This issue will obviously be a test of the character of the Beaufort County Republican Party…and of Mrs. Garris.

We vote for transparency and may the best qualified candidate be selected.

Should Beaufort County's Commissioners fund more projects, while adding to the county government work force, or, should these servants to the People work to cut wasteful spending, and give the taxpayers of Beaufort County a break on taxes, possibly starting a new purpose for their existence?
  Yes, please spend more; so much needs to be done in Beaufort County, and we need more government employees doing it.
  No, please work to be frugal; more mindful that this is the public's money, and return to taxpayers what is not absolutely needed.
  Why should I pay attention to stuff?
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( September 29th, 2022 @ 3:50 pm )
George, I agree; this is a Selfie-Generation in the making of another, and it ain't pretty.

I liken it to the analogy that I would not want to be in a foxhole with most politicians when the shooting starts, ergo, the crux of my explanation of my good relationship with The Hood.

I have been doing this for nearly 22 years, and most political people, and that especially includes the their loyal sycophants, just are not that trustworthy, and, moreover, just are not that bright.

As you already know, George, you always have my ear, and whatever good sense I can muster when needed.
( September 29th, 2022 @ 2:02 pm )
It is a shame in this day and age that individuals can be so self-centered. Never in my 82 years have I seen such self-absorption with individuals. The part the gets to me the most is that the citizens have no input whatsoever. Most of you know of my military service but let me say that in no way would I want to be in a shootout with these folks at my side.
( September 27th, 2022 @ 10:06 am )
As a member of the GOP committee, as a county commissioner, should I be re-elected, I will only vote for the most qualified candidate, with certain minimum standards.

What would be optimum is a Republican candidate for the Register of Deeds that has knowledge of real estate law, NC Records law, data organization and management, and an exemplary record as a local and United States citizen, and unreservedly honest.

Someone such as myself would be imminently qualified, but I have too much on my plate as it is, and I am NOT a candidate; however, I still will expect see some basic qualifications, for just registered as a Republican, especially a Republican that I am not familiar with at this point, will NOT get my vote.

One more thing here: I expect more from Republicans than just a name on a ballot, or an application. Governing is an awesome responsibility, and qualifications of skills and character deeply matter to me.

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