Heated words exchanged between two Stanly commissioners
Published 9:00 am Thursday, May 19, 2022
In an information briefing for county commissioners prior to Monday’s meeting, tensions rose between two commissioners regarding one’s conduct and a recent DOT decision.
Commissioner Peter Asciutto asked Chairman Tommy Jordan about what he did “to unilaterally decide to put a stop” to a proposed four-way stop on N.C. Highway 73 and Millingport Road. Asciutto said Jordan “blew it off,” but then took it “upon himself to put a stop to the project.”
“Why did you do what you did unilaterally without coming to us or calling a special meeting?” Asciutto said.
Jordan said he received a call from Stanly County 911 Communications about the proposed four-way stop. He said he did not remember Asciutto bringing it up, which prompted Asciutto to say he had called Jordan about questions he asked at a meeting of the Rocky River Rural Planning Organization (RRRPO).
“I asked questions (to DOT) at the RPO meeting. It made sense because there were high impact accidents out there. I told you that,” Asciutto said.
Jordan said he called Lee Snuggs, director of the RRRPO, and was told neither Stanly County staff nor the RRRPO or local DOT had asked for the four-way stop. He said Snuggs said people should contact the RRRPO and himself directly, so he made a Facebook post asking citizens to put their input in.
Jordan said he received a call the next morning from the division maintenance engineer who said the project was canceled because of emails sent to Snuggs from people against the project.
When Asciutto again said the chairman acted without the board’s input, Jordan said, “I’m a taxpayer.” Asciutto said, “You did it as the chairman of the county commission. Yes, you did. Don’t lie.”
Asciutto then referred to an email sent by Jordan to Snuggs in which the chairman refers to himself as “Chairman Jordan here,” adding he wants the contact information for someone at DOT to find out about the project. The email further read, “I’m going to rile some folks up starting today! This is absolutely ridiculous!”
Further, Asciutto referred to the conduct of Jordan as “that you’ve been using throughout the year where you bully people.”
Asciutto later asked if the county would be liable for any accidents if Jordan speaking for the county had the four-way stopped.
Jordan said he never spoke to the DOT, but he said the project was canceled due to “customer feedback.”
Asciutto further asked the chairman what he called him in an email, which Asciutto sent to county attorney Jenny Furr regarding a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Jordan’s emails regarding the four-way stop.
In his reply, Jordan said, “There were (sic) total of five. I forwarded them to all three of you. Next time, just try asking before you go straight to being an (expletive).”
Jordan replied to Asciutto by saying “you’re the first person to file a FOIA request on a commissioner in 15 years. That’s kind of an (expletive) move.”
Addressing the board, Asciutto said, “if you guys are good with our chairman acting like this, then you guys are good with a chairman acting like this. There’s a moral code of conduct. What you called me was not right. What you did to bully your way to get this thing done is not right.”
Asciutto then referred to a personal Facebook post of Jordan’s regarding his recent visit to a furniture store in Albemarle. The post stated the models on display in the store were not for sale, but could be ordered and shipped to him. The post contained some profanity regarding the experience.
Asciutto said, “I’d like you to resign as chairman.”
Jordan responded, “Well, I’m not going to resign. Would you like to call for a motion to have me removed?”
Asciutto said, “Not at this point…but it may in the future because there’s more to this.”
The briefing was adjourned to the regular meeting of the commission later that evening.