Coffer Coasters Civic Organization opposes Vice Mayor Harvey Porter for being mayor of the Town of Newsoms

Published 11:52 am Friday, September 25, 2015

To the Editor:

The town of Newsoms needs a mayor who respects all citizens and their requests to address council during the town council meetings. If citizens are only allowed to speak for five minutes, then it should be applied to all citizens. For Vice Mayor Harvey Porter to say to one person, “Let him have his five minutes of fame,” is not what is expected of a mayor.

Also, the citizens of Newsoms need a mayor who is honest, trustworthy and has integrity. It is alleged when Vice Mayor Harvey Porter was the mayor of Newsoms, he transferred funds from one bank to another bank, without proper authorization.

The town council decided to vote on whether to investigate the matter or not. When casting the votes, there was a tie and Vice Mayor Porter cast the deciding vote, which was not to investigate. However, the funds were returned to the first bank. During the town council meetings, we feel more issues need to be discussed in open sessions and not in closed sessions because the citizens of Newsoms have a right to more information about matters, such as this one.

The Coffer Coasters Civic Organization has tried to work with Vice Mayor Porter and former Mayor Kenneth Cooke in the past. Unfortunately, they both have been reluctant to support projects presented to the town council that would make improvements in the town of Newsoms. One such project would be the town drainage problem. Our organization has been trying to get closure to this problem, and others (standing water, mold and mosquitos), since 1995.

So, we requested help from the Southeast Rural Community Project in Roanoke, Virginia. At our request, the town was given a $25,000 grant to do a drainage study in 2010. This is still a work in progress, but, the citizens need and deserve to know exactly how the funds were used.

Furthermore, the town of Newsoms received approximately $700,000 in the past three years from funds collected by the police department through traffic citations. The citizens have a right to know how the funds are being used and if any conditions of the town have been improved. The citizens also have a right to know why the town clerk is being paid $27 an hour for only 10 hours of work a week and gets a paid vacation.

The Coffer Coasters Civic Organization urges the town of Newsoms’ citizens to stay informed on town issues, after they vote for their council members, by attending town council meetings. Our organization also encourages town citizens to attend the Board of Supervisors’ meetings and any other community meetings. Numbers count at meetings and remember to use the Freedom of Information Act to acquire any information you may need at the county administration building in Courtland, Virginia.

Ruby S. Worrell
Vice President

Coffer Coasters Civic Organization