A town in turmoil

Published 12:17 pm Saturday, September 12, 2015

A mayor who has resigned but will not disclose why.

A town clerk who has refused to produce public documents.

A town’s attorney who has ignored several requests to produce his client’s public documents.

A chief of police who was fired by the mayor, only to be reinstated by town council two days later.

A Commonwealth’s Attorney who has called the police chief’s integrity into question.

A sheriff’s department that has denied the town’s police department access to the sheriff’s office.

A town without rules and seemingly on the brink of implosion.

Add it all up and what do you have in the town of Newsoms? As we like to call it here in the south, a hot mess, that’s what. It’s a story that would barely be believable had it been dreamed up Hollywood. But for residents of the small town in Southampton County, the goings-on are a sad reality.

What I have listed above are merely the things that we have been able to confirm, verify and therefore report. Unfortunately for Newsoms there is more still to come. Yet while initial reports may have given the town a black eye, and although additional details to come will certainly be a huge embarrassment for those involved, Newsoms will likely be better off for it in the long run. The apparent ineptitude of town leadership has been exposed. One can only assume that the mess will soon be cleaned up.

We take little delight in reporting such things, but Newsoms residents deserve to be made aware of even the dirtiest of their town’s laundry. Town leaders have been intent on keeping this information quiet. Residents are now demanding that they do not. We will continue to report what we find regardless of opposition from those who have committed to keeping town business a secret.

Newsoms is a town full of good people. They deserve better than what their leadership is putting them through. I sincerely hope that they get it soon.

TONY CLARK is the publisher of The Tidewater News. Contact him at 562-3187 or tony.clark@tidewaternews.com.