Turmoil at Town Hall

Raleigh – “And now they are putting peoples’ lives at risk.”

This was State Auditor Beth Wood’s response to reports employees with the town of Robersonville are not wearing masks on the job.

The discussion was brought on when Sharon Edmundson, Deputy Treasurer of the State and Local Government Finance Division (SLGFD), provided an update on Local Government Commission operations in the town of Robersonville.

“And then we continue to have some issues with staff not being very cooperative,” Edmundson explained. “Right now our staff is not down there because the town staff, several of them have tested positive for COVID. And so our staff is not down there at the moment.”

“And quite honestly, the town staff is not following CDC guidelines. They don't wear masks, which is disturbing to my staff members and to me. We will continue to do our job and take care of things one way or another with them,” she added.

Wood confirmed when she and Edmundson visited the town office together, staff were wearing masks and hand sanitizer was available. Edmundson thought by that, protocols were being followed.

According to Edmundson, her staff – who is there on a daily basis –said “Staff is not wearing masks and that they had one staff person knowing she had been exposed and came to work anyway – didn’t quarantine.”

And now other people on staff have tested positive, Edmundson shared with the commission.

In previous months, LGC staff had commended Robersonville town staff for their cooperation. That was not the case during the January LGC meeting.

Wood posed a question following Edmundson’s description of recent events.

“This rebellious behavior, and I know who they are, and not being cooperative, not trying to get the work done, so we’ve had to deal with that. And now they’re putting people’s lives at risk. Do we not see a need to start firing some people?” she asked, calling their actions “rebellion.”

Wood noted specific concern with the actions putting LGC employees, other town employees and those come into the office at risk.

Following a discussion among LGC members, it was decided a letter would be sent to town employees on Wednesday, explaining effective immediately masks would be worn in town hall or on town property and protocols would be followed.

Revisions to policies related to this issue may be brought before the LGC at their regular February meeting.

Two budget amendments were passed for the town of Robersonville during the LGC meeting.

One amendment in the amount of $47,732 was to recognize insurance proceeds received and repairs made to a rescue department vehicle following an accident.

The second amendment was to shift funds in order to purchase bookkeeping services and the ADP payroll service.

Sarah Hodges Stalls can be reached via email at shstalls@ncweeklies.com