Letter: What does ‘transparency’ mean to Buncombe County officials?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Per a Nov. 3 Mountain Xpress online article, “WNC General Election 2020 Live Coverage,” Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chair Brownie Newman “said officials would commit to ‘open, transparent methods’ of business to ensure that the voices of Republicans are heard.”

The article’s writer implies that Newman was referring to the commission’s new makeup of six Democrats and only one Republican as a result of that day’s election.

The Pratt & Whitney deal was transacted before this newly formed commission. Is that why there was seemingly little-to-no transparency regarding what Project Ranger was as we began reading of it during summer; why we were finally told what it was at the end of October/early November? Why residents who are not necessarily “Republicans” were not afforded an opportunity to comment until the Nov. 17 commissioners’ meeting, when, in spite of the concerns raised, every commissioner then seated voted in favor of the plant?

Reflecting on the behavior of several Buncombe County leaders over the past five years and this most recent event, I have to wonder what the term “transparency” means to Buncombe County officials elected and/or hired to watch over the interests of all county residents.

If this is transparency, I shudder to think what other probable done deals are being transacted without the public’s knowledge.

People may like the 800 jobs promised by the Pratt & Whitney deal and so don’t care that it was transacted so discreetly, but now that this precedent has been set, will there be future deals made without taxpayers’ knowledge and input during the negotiations? If so, will they be as pleasing to some as this deal or maybe not? I guess we won’t know until the deal is done.

— C. Heil



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6 thoughts on “Letter: What does ‘transparency’ mean to Buncombe County officials?

  1. Local Grandad

    These letters read like a Guiliani press conference. So many conspiracies to track. If you think this is a ‘secret’ deal, u must not be paying attention. We elect Commissioners and demand they improve the job market, bring better jobs. These policies exist. They are governed by laws that are followed. They did exactly what the people of Buncombe elected them to do. 800 local families will make a better life. Let’s moooove on.

    • Dopamina

      So many conspiracies? Huh? Did we read the same article?

      The writer was expressing frustration that these negotiations were not transparent, that’s all.

      Why did you feel the need to set up that weird straw man argument?

      Why not actually address what the writer said as opposed to creating your own topic to run on about in regards to conspiracies?

    • Shultz!

      So ‘local jobs’ – doesn’t necessarily mean they agreed to hire local folk. In fact, I’d wager the majority that end up getting hired will be non-WNC residents that’ll move here. Perhaps someone that has read the actual agreement can jump in to tell us whether they have agreed to give priority to the local citizenry?

      • bsummers

        It’s a good question. But I’d have to bet that no company would sign onto a restriction like that. How many unemployed workers are there locally with the skills to build high tech military aircraft engines? At best, there might be some statement of “preference” to hire locals. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s my guess.

  2. MG Massey

    If all the hidden crimes of the formerly indicted and imprisoned came to light,it would disgust voters on both sides.
    Now that Medford is dead. I’ll just say..
    Keep digging

    I became an independent voter due to corruption that decimated my children’s lives.
    When the sexual abuse of children is allowed…you’ve got a very corrupt government.
    Rather than label anyone left or right. .I’ll just say the ruling class here deserve whatever the Feds throw at them.
    It’s a go along to get along purient tourist town capable of all the evil Dante wrote about.

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