Editor’s note: On occasion, Publisher Bill Bowman yields this space to allow others to discuss relevant local topics. This week’s Publisher’s Pen is by HopeMills.net founder Elizabeth Blevins.
“If you want an amazing downtown, it must start with rock stars leading the way. Board members who understand their commitment.” MainStreetAmerica.org
Where are the rock stars in Hope Mills? Where’s the dedication and commitment from our elected officials? It’s a year into their administration, and Hope Mills freshman commissioners Jesse Bellflowers, Meg Larson and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Mitchell have commandeered the board of commissioners while hijacking its dignity and effectiveness. Progress, or anything akin to it, has practically come to a halt.
We observe at each Monday night meeting as they flounder, stutter and stammer through the meetings, ill-prepared to the point of indecision. In addition, they ignore existing town policies to further their agendas and those of their friends while condemning one another … for failing to follow policy. All this and we’ve yet to see them effectively serve the citizens of Hope Mills.
Elected officials are supposed to serve the community. They’re meant to humble themselves and to put the needs and wants of thousands of Hope Mills citizens before their own personal agendas. They should serve with humility, not ego.
With the exception of Commissioner Pat Edwards, we have seen these Hope Mills Commissioners flit from whim to whim, reacting and rushing through votes without pausing to consider the ramifications, feasibility or consequences of their actions — or the ultimate effect on residents. Example: They agreed to a new walking trail without ever considering the cost of the project or, more importantly, the need. Both of which will ultimately affect the taxpayers.
Most recently, the commissioners agreed to hire an outside law firm to come in and conduct an independent investigation without ever defining the reasons or purpose for it or establishing a budget or salary cap for the investigator.
Also, they failed to specify what the investigator was supposed to do with the information he gleans from the investigation. What is that all about? An investigation in search of possible wrongdoing? By whom? Mayor Jackie Warner? Warner has been a dedicated servant to the residents of the Hope Mills community for her entire life. How absurd — not to mention a terrible and irresponsible waste of the town’s financial resources. Especially when there are so many other important needs to be attended to.
Besides, Hope Mills does not have a recall election option, so what’s the point?
Here’s the point: Unfortunately, this entire investigation is Larson and Mitchell’s attempt to discredit and embarrass Warner while at the same time trying to cover up and justify their collective poor judgement and decision to reject the $1.5 million retreat the Lone Survivor Foundation wanted to bring to Hope Mills to treat and serve military veterans. With Hope Mills tax money at their disposal, they are proving to be very poor stewards of it.
Hope Mills is a great town with awesome potential and caring, loving and concerned residents. Hope Mills deserves better leadership than this. Hope Mills deserves leaders with passion, empathy and vision. It deserves dedicated leaders who take the time to study and understand the issues and fully research options and solutions and plan accordingly. Based on what’s good for the town’s residents and businesses, Hope Mills’ elected officials should listen to the people then determine what’s best for the community. We need honest, trustworthy leaders who are proactive, not reactive.
Hope Mills is full of rock stars, and its residents are the town’s biggest assets with the loudest voices. They should not let their silence be their consent! Hope Mills deserves better from its elected officials and its citizens should demand such. The town has been subjected to less than it deserves for far too long.
We encourage Hope Mills residents to get involved, pay attention and stay informed. Up & Coming Weekly and HopeMills.net are two valuable Hope Mills media resources you can depend on for honest, trustworthy and accurate information. Both are easily accessible to Hope Mills residents and both are available to all residents with free online subscriptions.
Let your voices be heard. Remind all the Hope Mills Commissioners that the residents and taxpayers of Hope Mills deserve, no demand, more responsible representation.
Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly, Hope Mills’ community newspaper.
I appreciate Publisher Bill Bowman allowing me to use his space for this editorial.
Photo L to R: Commissioner Mike Mitchell; Commissioner Jessie Bellflowers; Commissioner Meg Larson