Turner Blasts Board, Ruled Out of Order
Elton Turner, a frequent critic of the Moore County Board of Commissioners, on Monday called for Nick Picerno to resign as chairman.
Some of Turner's charges prompted Picerno to rap his gavel to interrupt his comments, which he declared to be out of order. But it wasn't because of the call for Picerno to resign -- it had to do with allegations Turner made against other commissioners.
It happened during the public-comment period of the commissioners' first meeting of the year. Picerno said some of Turner's comments did not comply with the board's policy for public comment.
"We'll stick to the facts," Picerno said.
Turner was allowed to continue his presentation criticizing present and past members of the board, especially targeting them for electing Picerno as chairman instead of Commissioner Tim Lea. He closed his remarks by calling on Picerno to resign as chairman and for the board to hold a new election and choose Lea as chairman.
Lea, who is beginning his second term on the board, has seniority but was passed over for the chairmanship when the commissioners elected new officers at the Dec. 1 meeting. Instead, the board chose Picerno, who was elected to the board last November and took office in December.
In his comments, Turner said he would not ride in an aircraft piloted by someone who had never flown a plane before or undergo surgery by a doctor who had never operated before, or invest money with a novice.
"We need a chairman who has a background, knowledge, and the ability to lead this county through difficult times," said Turner, who is a frequent critic of county leaders.
However, it was not Turner's remarks about Picerno or Lea that prompted the gavel rapping. Instead, Picerno stopped Turner when he accused some commissioners of collusion or conflict of interest.
Referring to an article appearing in The Pilot, Turner said he had called Lea and asked him if previous board members had conferred with him on a variety of important topics in recent years. In particular, he mentioned funding for the college and the airport, the changing of board meeting times, an increase in the property tax rate, and purchase of the Grimm property in downtown Carthage for $1.5 million.
"I would hope that we do not have a supreme ruler of the Kingdom of Moore," Turner said.
Because Turner's comments were expected to be longer than the three-minute allotment to speakers, another person who had signed up to speak yielded his time to Turner, thus giving Turner six minutes.
The commissioners set aside a public-comment period at the beginning of each regular meeting. The period is to last no longer than 30 minutes and is held after the ceremonial part of the meeting and before the board moves on to items on the regular agenda.
Picerno reviewed the board policy on public-comment procedures before opening the floor. The policy calls for speakers to be "courteous in their language and presentation" and not to make comments that "are harmful, discriminatory or embarrassing."
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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