Chatham County Commissioners start cutting—and two people lose jobs | News | Indy Week
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chatham County Commissioners start cutting—and two people lose jobs

Posted by on Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 4:28 PM

In their first meeting of the year, the Republican-dominated Chatham County Commissioners today cut two positions and eliminated the Pittsboro-to-Chapel Hill bus service that began Aug. 17, 2009.
During a tense and packed meeting, at which Chatham County Fire Marshal Thomas Bender turned citizens away due to fire codes, Human Relations Executive Director Esther Coleman and Sustainable Communities Director Cynthia Van Der Wiele lost their jobs.
By a 3-2 vote along party lines, Chatham County Commissioners eliminated the positions. The Obesity Coordinator position was also cut, but it was vacant.
Democrats Sally Kost and Mike Cross voted against cutting the positions. Republican newcomers Brian Bock, Walter Petty and Pamela Stewart voted for the cuts.
Coleman earned $80,000 annually, Van Der Wiele $96,000.
Supporters of the new commissioners reminded Bock, Petty and Stewart that the three had run their campaigns on cutting “government fat,” and that their voters expected them to do that today.
The cuts are expected to save the county $2 million over the next four years, according to Chatham County Community Relations Director Debra Henzey.
The meeting agenda didn’t specifically say the job cuts would be considered, but they were tucked in Item No. 21, “Cost Containment/Streamlining Discussion.”
The newly elected GOP commissioner, Brian Bock, Walter Petty and Pamela Stewart, eliminated positions quickly, which upset many citizens present who hoped the incoming commissioners would not rush their decisions.
“The commissioners can eliminate a position at any time,” Henzey said. “No one was fired, the commissioners chose to eliminate offices as part of their budget decisions.”
Coleman has been executive director of the Human Relations Commission since 2007. She oversaw the county's diverse communities. Nearly 13 percent of Chatham residents are African-American; 13.3 percent are Latino.
However, pockets of the county have high numbers of minorities. For example, Siler City's population is 50 percent Latino.
“Don't think racism does not still exist in Chatham County,” urged Rita Spina, vice-president of Chatham Citizens for Effective Communities. “Please do not go backward in your thinking."
Loyse Hurley, president of CCEC, said, "The human relations director averts and preempts issues by dealing with discrimination, labor violations, hate bias, and hate crimes before they become problems and expensive lawsuits for the county."
As sustainability director, Van Der Wiele coordinated planning, environmental resources, soil erosion and sedimentation control, central permitting, transportation, green building and affordable housing. Her primary charge was to develop and implement a long-term comprehensive community sustainability plan for Chatham County.
Van Der Wiele was hired in 2009.
The commission also voted 4-1 to eliminate the express bus service between Pittsboro and Chapel Hill for 18 months. When the service started in 2009, Chatham County and Pittsboro matched a state grant with an additional $176,000 each year generated by alcoholic beverage taxes.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News

More by Rebekah L. Cowell

  • Digging deeper

    In Orange and Guilford counties, neighbors fight landfill expansions
    • Jul 6, 2011
  • Police could lose funds to jail undocumented immigrants

    In 2010, 54 N.C. law enforcement agencies received $7.6 million in SCAAP funding; that money would all but evaporate, and local tax dollars would have to pay for incarcerating undocumented immigrants.
    • Jun 8, 2011
  • Chatham commissioners rescind 2009 ICE resolution

    The 2009 resolution acknowledged that undocumented immigrants live in and contribute to their communities, and asked that local law enforcement decline to enter into agreements with ICE to enforce federal immigration laws.
    • Jun 8, 2011
  • More »

Twitter Activity

Comments

People discover one weird trick to keep from getting shot by cops (don't commit crimes).

Bonus tip: don't resist …

by Dude on Charlotte discovers one weird trick to solve homelessness. (Give them some place to live.) (News)

The Jordans knew they were purchasing a property in a historic district and to propose demolition of a well-maintained contributing …

by Sarah M. 1 on Durham Historic Preservation Commission to discuss possible Watts-Hillandale tear-down (News)

Latest videos from the INDY

© 2015 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation