Updike explains reasons for voting against contract

Published 9:47 am Friday, August 31, 2012

To the Editor:

There are numerous reasons why I voted against Mr. Vernie Francis’ part-time job.

No one is more concerned about the safety of our citizens than I am, and I’m sure Mr. Francis does a good job, but I am also concerned about our tax dollars and feel the job of maintaining our towers and radios could be done by someone “in-house.”

I’m very disappointed with county officials about the handling of this situation. It looks to me like the tail is wagging the dog, and the only function for the Board of Supervisors seems to be to pay the bills and raise taxes.

Not only did the county officials not step up but they went out of their way to block the majority vote of the supervisors to do away with this position. They used closed-door politics to see that this not be carried out.

I asked that someone or some department take on the responsibility of looking after our communication system, and no department agreed, including the sheriff’s department.

Here are the reasons why I feel we should uphold the citizens’ request to do away with this position:

• The county signed a contract for this position that the board did not know anything about. No contracts should be signed without the board’s knowledge of it.

• The job wasn’t advertised

• All contracts should have at least two bids

• The communication system was put in in 2005. It has been looked after for seven years, and now when we are in financial trouble, it seems we have to hire a new employee to do that same job.

I would like to know the answers to the following questions:

• Who looked after the equipment while Mr. Francis was on vacation?

• Does Mr. Francis have a business license and insurance? If not, how can the county enter into a contract with him?

Glenn H. Updike
Southampton County Supervisor
Newsoms District