If you’ve ever wondered why Pinehurst is the most-hated municipality in Moore County, I invite you to take a gander at Exhibit A: video of the October 12 meeting of The Pinehurst Village Council. (Fast Forward to the 1:30:50 mark.).
A lot happens. We’re going to encourage you to watch the hour of video, but will provide some of the, um, highlights.
At this particular point in the video, Mayor John Strickland informs the council and those assembled that the council will tackle some ethics allegations, in open session, against council members Kevin Drum and Lydia Boesch. Both Drum and Boesch expressed surprise that (1) the allegations existed, and (2) they would be discussed in open session without a chance for them to prepare a defense or rebuttal.
Village attorney Mike Newman was hauled to the front of the room to attest to the fact that the council CAN investigate such complaints. (No word yet as to whether Newman agrees that the council can dispense with due process at its discretion.) I looked at the meeting notices. There was no written notice posted online mentioning an open hearing about allegations against Drum and Boesch.
Boesch’s alleged offense: Pinewild’s lone representative on the council was allegedly being targeted because she is a rumored opponent against Mayor Strickland in 2023. Strickland said Boesch had cornered Pinehurst police chief Glenn Webb to see what he had heard about complaints by staff about village manager Jeff Sanborn. Strickland said council members are forbidden from speaking one-on-one with village employees. Employees with grievances against village staff are to take those to the village manager or HR. QUESTION: How do you expect someone with a grievance against the village manager to complain TO the manager? What do you expect to happen in response?
Sources within village government told us Boesch was motivated by complaints from Raleigh about Sanborn’s behavior. Boesch reportedly wanted to see if local employees felt the same way state government sources apparently did. (Hence, the conversation with Webb.) Word has been traveling around Village Hall that Pinehurst’s legislative delegation, consisting of Rep. Jamie Boles and Senator Tom McInnis, has reportedly refused to work with Pinehurst or do anything for the village as long as Sanborn remains the point man for village government.
Drum’s alleged offense: Now, this one really comes from left field. Drum, in addition to being a council member, has two businesses in downtown Pinehurst. Drum and his businesses are members of Pinehurst Business Partners (PBP), sort of a chamber of commerce for downtown Pinehurst. At some point in the recent past, Drum got into a heated argument with an officer of PBP. Several emails were exchanged between Drum and the PBP official. Drum used an email account from one of his businesses, and reportedly did not threaten to use his power as a councilman against the group. Village government sources tell us Drum had two main issues with the PBP: (1) the group was sponsoring a meet-and-greet for one of the leading candidates in the upcoming village council election (who, unlike Drum, was not a member of the group), and (2) the number of projects PBP was working on that Drum believed to be a waste-of-time or dead-end. PBP officials responded by turning over Drum’s emails to the village manager and mayor John Strickland.
At the meeting on the 12th, Strickland reminded Drum and the other council members that they are on-duty for the village 24-7-365. The utterance of a rude or inflammatory comment hurts village government’s public image, said Strickland.
OK. Attention all readers who happen to be Pinehurst residents: Please report any rude or disrespectful behavior by mayor John Strickland, or any other council member to the village government HR office. The time of day or day of the week of said occurrence does not matter.
After viewing the tape of the meeting on the 12th, and picking up some additional details, it is pretty clear that Village of Pinehurst government is a dysfunctional mess. Employees are scared to talk to council members. Relations with the General Assembly are at an all-time low. Traffic con
These are not problems that can be fixed by parachuting a candidate in from DC.