The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

September 18, 2012

Senate Bill 411 Needs A Debate


Tuesday, September 18, 2012 —

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again. Political candidates
pledging to be open with us, the taxpayers, about how and why important
decisions are made. Unfortunately, what we discover, is that backdoor
politics and private motives too often impact the decision-making
processes of the men and women sworn to serve us.

What we, the citizens of Stanly County, need are public officials who
will research issues, form unbiased opinions based off what they have
learned and ultimately share their discoveries and conclusions with the

Everyone has a trigger point that gets them involved in politics. Two
controversial topics motivated me to step into the political arena.

The first is ALCOA, which is the county’s hottest topic.  The other,
that has slid under the radar, is Senate Bill 411 that Representative
Justin Burr pushed into legislation last year under the cover of darkness.

The most controversial part of SB411 took away the power of the School
Board to appoint members to the Stanly Community College Board of
Trustees and gave the power to the commissioners.

It didn’t make sense as to why this was done. SCC has been pretty
progressive. In addition to building a second campus in Locust, they
host the successful Stanly Early College.

Under information received under the North Carolina Public Records Act,
I found it interesting that in the first week of June, Burr sent a
letter to the School Board members asking them to appoint Karmen Mock
Phillips to the Board of Trustees.

Instead, it looked as if the School Board was going to appoint Darrell
Almond rather than Phillips. Within two weeks of sending the letter of
recommendation, Burr put together legislation that stripped the School
Boards power to appoint and gave it to the County Commissioners.

At the first meeting in July, the Commissioners appointed Phillips to
the position. It’s interesting that Burr, Phillips and Almond are all

On the surface it looks like one Republican was thrown under the bus to
appoint a friend to a governmental board. Perhaps Burr’s motivation was
more about cronyism rather than the betterment of Stanly County.

If elected, I will have a public debate about SB411 to see if the bill
is good for Stanly County. If it isn’t, I will work with legislatures in
Raleigh to reverse SB411.

Peter Asciutto

Republican Candidate for Stanly County Commissioner