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Councilors moved by grudge in airport board decision

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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

By refusing to allow a qualified volunteer to serve on a local board, certain members of our new City Council, led by Councilman Johnnie Walton, have demonstrated petty, small-minded decision-making.

Tony Stimatz represented the 2nd Ward on City Council for 12 years. He always did his homework, attended regular meetings, work sessions and committee meetings. He spoke his mind and challenged both fellow council members and city staff to constantly seek better outcomes. And, yes, he and Mr. Walton had their differences and occasionally clashed.

Mr. Stimatz now serves as secretary of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County Airport Authority, and volunteered to serve another two-year term. According to City Council's own Policy & Procedures for Appointments to Boards, Commissions & Committees, "The Council desires to appoint qualified, knowledgeable, and dedicated people to serve on its boards, commissions, and committees."

No one on council challenged Mr. Stimatz's credentials, because he is, in fact, "qualified, knowledgeable and dedicated.” If council desires periodic updates from the Airport Authority, it should invite authority Chairman Johnnie Houston to a work session once per quarter.

No, council's refusal to approve Mayor Bettie Parker's nomination to have Stimatz serve another term had nothing to do with what is best for our community. It had everything to do with a personal grudge, was wrong, and should be challenged by every clear-eyed citizen. 

Bill Hiemer

Elizabeth City 

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