Alderman replacement process should be open

To the Editor:

As a full-time resident of Maggie Valley, I am shocked at the shenanigans taking place in our town over the selection of a replacement for Alderman Phil Aldridge who resigned in August.

I think that the people currently serving the town on the Board of Aldermen need to remember that the positions on the Board of Aldermen are elected positions and that the person who is selected to fill the vacancy left by Mr. Aldridge will serve out the remainder of his term, for three years. Therefore, this is a serious issue for the townspeople and needs a serious solution. This is not an opportunity to put “one’s good friend” on the board or have back room discussions about candidates amongst aldermen about their “favorites” before candidate interviews have even been conducted. This smacks of cronyism and violates the Open Meetings Act. This is an opportunity to select the best person for the job of serving the town and the public needs to have input in this decision.

Since Mayor Ron DeSimone has decided to interview all the applicants, I suggest that these interviews be conducted publicly with opportunity for the public to question the applicants. This would take the place of scheduling an election and give the town their due process. I am aware that there is no requirement in the town ordinances to have an application process, or conduct interviews, or even have a public discussion when a vacancy occurs on the board of alderman. Since this is the third vacancy in the last two years, perhaps this time, the town needs to consider the correct process for filling vacancies that serves the best interest of the town and draft new ordinances accordingly. Otherwise, there is no transparency or fairness in government and the whole process is tainted.

Dr. Janet Banks

Maggie Valley

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