Three Birdies And No Bogey
Birdie: By the town of Southern Pines, for opening up the search for a new police chief (sort of) to the public.
As the process of picking a replacement for the recently resigned John Letteney gets under way, the town's hiring consultant has begun conducting preliminary focus groups - this time not only within the Police Department and the town staff, but also involving any Southern Pines residents who chose to make their feelings known.
This is a step in the right direction. The new chief, after all, will be a town employee, which means that local taxpayers are the ones paying his salary. So they deserve a say in the decision.
So far, the public has been invited to participate only to the extent of offering feedback in "tailoring the search process." Later, the town should consider taking that a step further and following the lead of Raleigh, which has scheduled a Jan. 24 forum in which the public can meet the three finalists for that city's police chief job and voice judgments about their qualifications.
Now, that's openness.
Birdie: By Carthage resident Allen Matthews, for providing the rest of us with a classic - and rather inspiring - example of turning a lemon into lemonade.
Matthews runs the first African-American-owned auto repair business in the county seat. But when he tried to move his shop to a better location nearer the middle of town, he was told that auto repair was not a permissible function in the central business district. (While a couple of other such businesses do operate there, they were apparently grandfathered in before the zoning change.)
The resourceful Matthews saw another use for the large building he had rented: as a youth center. Such a facility has been much-needed in the town, so churches offered support and a board of directors soon formed. Already several wholesome events, including a gospel festival, have been held.
Thanks, Mr. Matthews. Let the lemonade flow.
Birdie: By Thom Tillis, speaker of the N.C. House, for his straightforward and candid assessment of the coming session of the General Assembly.
The Cornelius Republican, who was a management consultant prior to becoming a politician, promised an even shorter session than two years ago, which broke a 30-year record for brevity. Tillis wowed the crowd at the Moore County Chamber of Commerce State of the State luncheon with his businesslike approach to government. He even timed his own speech and apologized when the alarm blared.
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