LUMBERTON — The Robeson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to remove a Planning Board member, after a recording that contained racial slurs surfaced recently on social media.
James Fuller Locklear’s dismissal from the Planning Board was effective immediately. The vote, taken during a meeting held via teleconference, came after a motion to remove Locklear was made by Vice Chair Faline Dial and seconded by Commissioner Roger Oxendine.
“Everybody deserves a due process,” Oxendine said.
Gary Locklear, former county attorney and judge, investigated the matter and found Locklear was guilty of using racial slurs during a recorded conversation, the commissioner said.
County Attorney Rob Davis read six of eight submitted public comments aloud, all of which concerned the comments made by Locklear in an audio recording posted to Facebook on Sept. 8 in which he used the “n word” to describe at least one African American woman who was a county employee.
“I ask that you investigate this allegation and respond appropriately,” a comment from the Rev. Leslie Sessoms read in part.
Faith Jackson wrote that county servants should “exhibit professionalism at all times.”
“Please remove him from any and all county boards,” Erickia McNair wrote in a comment.
Commissioners Jerry Stephens and David Edge asked that the final two comments be placed in the record because the commissioners took action before the public comments section of Monday’s meeting and had heard similar comments from many other residents.
Commissioners Stephens and Tom Taylor said they were pleased with the decision to remove Locklear and hoped it sent county residents a message.
“We stand together on what’s right for this county,” Taylor said.
“We are pleased with our board meeting tonight,” Stephens said.
Locklear was reappointed to the Planning Board in August 2019, and his term was to expire July 31, 2022. According to county officials, Locklear served on the board for more than 15 years.
In other business, the commissioners voted to approve a resolution to request money with which to renovate the Serioplast building in Red Springs from the N.C. Department of Commerce Building Reuse Program.
“Whereas the county intends to request funding assistance from the North Carolina Department of Commerce from its Building Reuse Program for the project which will request $350,000 in building reuse funds. The county intends to use the funds to assist in the renovation of a building located at 100 Industrial Road in Red Springs,” the resolution reads in part.
Improvements to the building, which will be the site of the Serioplast Global Services manufacturing facility, will cost $1,450,000. The county plans a local cash match equal to 5% of the grant amount.
Also on Monday, commissioners voted to appoint District 5 Commissioner-Elect Judy Sampson to finish the term of the late Raymond Cummings, who died Aug. 7. The board acted after receiving a recommendation to appoint Sampson to the seat from the Robeson County Democratic Party.
Details regarding Sampson’s swearing-in ceremony are to be determined, County Manager Kellie Blue said.
Commissioners also voted to appoint Thad Davis to the Robeson Community College board of trustees.
During Monday’s meeting, the Board of Commissioners also learned that the Robeson County Housing Authority Board used CARES Act funding to distribute CARE kits that included sanitation items and a thermometer to residents, upgraded its websites to provide COVID-19 updates, used social media to direct residents to testing sites, and installed rent-collection drop-off boxes and a walk-up customer service window at its four locations, among other actions.
Updates on the Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency Grant also were given in a Housing Authority report. The program has 17 active participants who can attend a Money Basis 101 program, which helps participants learn how to manage money through creating budgets and other means, via the GCFGlobal curriculum.
The county’s Housing Authority also has given students living in its housing USB flash drives to help with virtual schooling and formed a commitment with local schools to allow buses equipped with Wi-Fi to park at Westgate Terrace, Morgan Park and Benton Court.
Commissioners also approved a petition to be sent to the N.C. Department of Transportation asking that Josephine Drive in Lumberton be added to the secondary road system.
Also approved was a resolution to accept a bid of $3,575 plus the cost of advertisement for a property on Glenn Road in Parkton.
Reach Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 or via email a [email protected]
Credit: Source link