I don’t think we’re talking about the Bill Clinton definition of “having relations,” here.
At a Tuesday special meeting, village manager Jeff Sanborn’s hand puppet (aka mayor John Strickland) decided to regurgitate the alleged offenses his political organization formally complained about to the village.
(As a side note to The Pilot: If you’re going to report on this, get your facts right. Your headline “Pinehurst Council holds off on formal reprimand for ethics violations,” was over the top. It’s good that someone got you to change the word “charges” to “violations.” No one, other than judges, cops, or prosecutors can “charge” someone. Now, let’s find a way to slip the word “alleged” in there somewhere, as in “alleged ethics violations.” By the way, it might also be appropriate to take “reprimand” out of the headline, since there has been no investigation to determine the existence of ethics violations. How do you reprimand someone without a proven offense? Also, you forgot to mention that the reason Strickland’s gang held off is that both targeted council members have lawyered up, and are in Strickland’s face.)
Back to the story. Strickland, over the last two weeks, decided to add “relations with Moore County’s legislators” to the list of alleged grievances against council member Lydia Boesch. As an elected official, and a Moore County voter, talking with your legislators is now a punishable offense? So sayeth the Strickland kangaroo court. (I am told that Jamie Boles and Tom McInnis were not pleased upon hearing this.)
Boesch’s lawyer communicated remotely with village attorney Mike Newman. Boesch’s counsel said Newman promised him nothing would be done on this “ethics” nonsense that night. Newman defended himself by saying he only promised there would be NO vote on the matter.
I spoke with a long-time council-watcher who told me this situation reminds him of the Andy Wilkison era at Pinehurst Village Hall:
“Back then, you had a strong manager and a line of weak mayors. The manager did what he wanted and the old folks on the council just nodded their heads in agreement. You have the same scenario now — a weak mayor and a strong manager. Sanborn knows this and is flexing his muscles. The staff and council members are all too intimidated to stand up to him.”
Council member Kevin Drum is under fire for using his personal email to argue with the president of Pinehurst Business Partners — a group of which he is a member. Drum is on the ballot next week. Boesch is not.
Many see the attack on Drum as a way to remove a blunt-spoken critic of the mayor and get him replaced with Strickland friend and ally Patrick Pizzella. Boesch is rumored to be running against Strickland in the next mayoral race. So, this current effort is merely an early start on crushing a (potential?) political opponent.
We’re in the midst of an economic crisis. Traffic on 15-501 and 5 is godawful. (None of Strickland’s horse farm friends will allow a bypass anywhere near their farms north of the village.) Of course, to fix that traffic, you need to talk to our legislators, which is now a CRIME.
There is a lot of serious stuff to deal with. Yet, hizzoner The Hand Puppet thinks these types of playground sandbox tactics should be at the top of the to-do list.