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2023 A Look Back: Micromanager(s) of the Year Award

2023 A Look Back: Micromanager(s) of the Year Award

Sometimes there are awards that call for two winners, like back in the day before the College Football Playoffs system when two schools would sometimes share a national championship. 

Such is the case for two Western North Carolina legislators, reps. Mike Clampitt (R-Swain) and Mark Pless (R-Haywood), who have been intent on putting their pie pokers in county government business.

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Mike Clampitt. File photo

Clampitt has ruffled the feathers of of Swain County’s elected leaders on multiple occasions. Along with hounding the county’s board of elections, he’s come after the TDA for what he perceives as potential wrongdoing, claims for which there is little to no evidence. Most notably, he tried to push the county’s emergency services to consolidate with Bryson City, which led to public rebukes from county commissioners.

Not to be outdone, Pless has not only been on a quest ever since he got to Raleigh to make municipal elections in Haywood County partisan — something town leaders across the county have rebuked — but he’s also meddled in Maggie Valley’s affairs by trying to strip the town of many of its development powers. In a statement, he called the mayor and two of the aldermen “depraved,” something he doubled down on during a small press conference, during which he offered residents who don’t like the policies a chance to de-annex, which would shrink Maggie Valley’s tax base.

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Mark Pless. File photo

When asked by a Smoky Mountain News reporter whether the move was political retribution, he straight-up admitted that his aim was to punish the Maggie Valley leaders who he’d perceived had wronged him.

“I do some really bad stuff and I do some good stuff; it just depends on which side of the bed I crawl out of as to which you get sometimes,” he said.

We know these are spoof awards, but he really said that!

Now, we can’t be sure exactly what has been said behind closed doors to ruffle these legislators’ feathers, but rest assured, local leaders will dish out a healthy amount of side-eye whenever they’re in the same room.

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