Supervisor still upset by Planning shakeup

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Early in the Southampton Board of Supervisors meeting on Jan. 22, Supervisor Dr. Alan Edwards found himself suddenly replaced as the liaison to the Planning Commission, a move that he said dumbfounded him.

“I am at a loss of words for what happened,” said the physician. “I served on Planning for 30-plus years, 10 of which were as chairman until I joined the Board in 2012. I was completely blindsided. No one talked to me, which they should have had the decency to do. Even [Richard] Railey [county attorney] was blindsided. I have never seen anything like this before.”

Edwards went on to say that board chairman Dallas Jones said he wasn’t doing a good job.

“That’s not true,” said Edwards.

In listening to the recording of the meeting, the moment was as follows:

Jones: “I’ve gotten some calls lately and there’s some concerns with the board on this Planning Commission. So, board members, what do you want to do?”

Vice Chairman Ronald West: “I make a motion to put Bruce Phillips on the Planning.”

Jones: “Is there a second?”

Carl Faison: “Second.”

Jones: “All in favor signify by saying ‘Aye.’”

The ‘ayes’ had it.

The county website,, shows Phillips’ photo and contact information already in place as the new liaison.

Edwards, who represents the Jerusalem District, said he believes his positions on some major issues within the past few years might have inspired the dismissal. He cited his stance against giving the country club $30,000 to help keep it functioning. Another is the Camp Parkway development project, which he also opposed. In May of 2016, Edwards said during a Planning meeting that he believed it would “destroy that community.” He also was vocal in his opposition to the proposal for solar panel farms.

As Edwards sees it, he’s on both the Planning and Supervisor panels to serve the people.

“Planning has always been protective of the land and we’re proud of it,” he said. “We’re free thinkers.”

Michael Drake, chairman of the Planning Commission, said recently that he also was stunned by the supervisors’ action. He has heard nothing from them on the matter. Nor was there talk on the Planning panel.

“We’ve always respected each other’s opinion,” said Drake, who’s been 13 years on the commission. “We try to have some unity before sending recommendations to the supervisors.

He praised Edwards for his devotion — “totally dedicated” — to the work.

“I commend him for his service,” Drake said, adding that a resolution of appreciation will be forthcoming.

The board chairman said on Tuesday morning that the action taken last month didn’t just happen without reason.

Concerns and calls made to the board about Edwards had taken place over the past four to five years, said Jones, who added that he could not give specific names.

But even he was surprised by his fellow supervisors’ action that evening.

“I had no idea what would happen. None of it was done secretly,” Jones said.

Edwards wants to return to Planning.

“I want my damn job back,” he said, adding that he’d also like an apology from Jones.

The chairman said that for the physician to be put back on Planning would be up the other supervisors.

“I have only one vote and only during a tie,” said Jones.