North Carolina Newspapers

    North Carolina Press Association
Vol. 107 No. 42
2 Shelb
Mountaineers hattle
y for first place
See Page 8A
Thursday, October 19, 1995
Former
City Manager
| George Wood
says he won't
apologize for
intervening in
city = budget
y matters for
8 which he was
i censored for
£8 ethics viola-
a tions by a na-
tional organi-
WOOD
zation he has belonged to since
1984.
"I've never walked away from a
moral obligation and I don't plan to
start now nor to continue to belong
to an organization that tells me to
walk away when I am asked for
help,’ he said this week in a tele-
phone interview from Cleveland,
Tn., where he is city manager.
"All of this goes back to last
June when I sent the city a letter
which proved that Maxine Parsons’
budget projections were off base,"
said Parsons’ former boss.
"Her projections were in many
cases less than the money the city
took in," he said.
Wood contends that the public
Wood: It was a moral obligation
was misled.
"Kings Mountain underspent its
budget by $574,000 which comes
pretty close to what I had proposed
earlier," he said.
But Parsons disagrees with
Wood that the public was misled.
She said saying that Powell Bill
and cemetery perpetual funds were
being used as operating funds and
that was incorrect procedure and
that money had to go back into
those special funds. She said that
the underpending came in the last
See Wood, 12-A
Auditor
disagrees
with Wood
The City of Kings Mountain is
still a half million dollars short of
state required 8 percent undesig-
nated fund balances, according to
City Auditor Darrell Keller.
- Keller said the undesignated
fund balance in the general fund is
still a negative figure of over
$100,000 and the Local
Government Commissionr will be
rapping the city again for failure to
comply with the state's general
statutes.
He made the remarks this week
‘he started wping the 1
city audi
Kings Mountain City Council.
Keller said that at June 30, 1994
the city had paid a little over
$300,000 in past due bills and at
Jane 30, 1995 the figure was down
to $40,000.
= The auditor, who had speculated
about six months ago that it would
take Kings Mountain two years to
have any money in the bank, said
that the money situation has im-
proved but that citizens get a false
picture when they start looking at
budgets and unaudited figures.
= Keller says the city needs to cut
spending for at least two more
years but he says the city is facing
a dilemma by not spending money
for capital improvements.
"We have budgeted $300,000 for
a basin at Pilot Creek Waste treat-
ment plant but those improvements
out there could take a million dol-
lars to fix," he said.
Keller said the city has made fi-
nancial improvements this year but
it‘has a "way. to go."
Keller said that the city's poor fi-
nancial picture is not "misleading"
although he admitted that the situa-
tion is improving with careful
See Auditor, 2-A
proval ‘before presentation to the
By ELIZABETH STEWART
Of The Herald Staff
The Executive Board of the International
City/County Management Association ( ICMA) re-
cently voted to publicly censure George A. Wood, for-
mer Kings Mountain City Manager, for ethics viola-
tions.
Wood, who left the city in March 1994 for the posi-
tion of City Manager of Cleveland, Tn., bypassed the
woman who succeeded him as interim manager in
Kings Mountain when he questioned the budget she
prepared and sent the city council a lengthy letter
which detailed his recommendations but not with a
copy to the interim manager.
Mayor Scott Neisler charged the budget Wood ques-
tioned contained "$427,000 worth of errors" and was
revised three days after he read the letter from Wood in
a public meeting at City Hall. Neisler said the revised
See Page 6B
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Group says Wood interfered in KM business
that the city did not need to raise property taxes or wa-
ter and sewer rates.
Under date of October 3, Mary M. Grover, ethics
advisof to the 8,000 member organization, headquar-
tered in Washington, DC, wrote the city's finance di-
rector Maxine Parsons, who succeeded Wood as inter-
im manager, that the committee found, that after he left
the community, Wood "advised and responded to in-
quiries from elected and appointed officials of Kings
Mountain without informing Parsons and without in-
forming Wood's successor, Chuck Nance.
"The effect of his intervention was to influence
elected officials’ decision making and the committee
found Wood violated Tenet 1 of the ICMA Code of
budget presented a truer picture of the city's finances.
Neisler has continued to maintain, supported by Wood,
Photo by Lib Stewart
HALLOWEEN HOUSE - The season of spooks and goblins is upon us and they can be seen in living
color in the front yard and porch at the home of Reb and Lynn Wiesener on Gaston Street. Cars slow ev-
ery night to see the lighted spectacle which is the handiwork of Mrs. Wiesener.
Retirement facility planned in KM
By ELIZABETH STEWART
Of The Herald Staff
Six months after the Consortium
for Progress was organized, the
group Monday chose the develop-
ers who will finalize site selection
for a 64-bed assisted-living retire-
ment facility in Kings Mountain
estimated to cost $3 million.
Summit Place of Kings
Mountain is expected to get off the
ground in about nine months once
the site is selected, said John L.
Easterling III, Vice-President of
Pulliam Investments of
Spartanburg, SC, and Norman E.
Pulliam and David Matthews of
Aaron Enterprises.
KINGS MOUNTAIN PEOPLE
Easterling estimated that the en-
tire project would be up and run-
ning by March 1 and that the pro-
ject would open for residents about
January 1, 1997.
The Consortium, chaired by
Dean Westmoreland, gave unani-
mous consent to the project which
Westmoreland said was much
needed in the Kings Mountain
area.
Pulliam estimated that the sec-
ond phase of the project which
would add more luxury hotel like
apartments would cost an addition-
al $2 million.
The apartments are efficiency
apartments with one or two bed-
rooms, private baths, carpet and
Scots lighting. Transportation
would be included for residents as
well as three meals daily, 24 hour
supervision and medication where
needed.
"T am real excited bout the new
facility for the Kings Mountain
area,” said Jackie Metcalf Pittman,
administrator of the new Skyland
facility in Spartanburg, SC where
she has worked for 18 months and
commutes from her home in the
Oak Grove community.
"We are delighted you want us
to proceed with the plans," said
Norman Pulliam and other repre-
See Consortium, 4-A
Ethics," said Grover.
Grover said that the committee found that Wood
"publicly criticized Kings Mountain appointed offi-
cials, questioning their competence.
See Interview, 4-A
Williams says he'll stay on DSS Board
Calling an October 9 hearing to
remove him from the DSS Board
null and void," Robert A. Williams
says county commissioners have
no statutory authority to remove
him and he will keep his seat until
his term expires next spring.
Williams made the announce-
ment Friday in a letter addressed to
Chairman Cecil Dickson with
copies to N. C. Attorney General
Mike Easley, U. S. Attorney Mark
Callaway, Governor Jim Hunt and
other state and U. S. elected gov-
ernment officials. :
"My lawful term on the DSS
County Department of Social
Services.
Sandra S. Allen, of 417
Beaumonde Avenue, Shelby, also
asked the governor in a two-page
letter to focus an investigation also
on the county commissioners,
elected Representatives and
Senators who she said "have not
intervened in the ongoing child
5 ! fra a d County. 4
full investigation of the Cleveland
board expires June 30, 1996. Until
I complete my term or am lawfully
removed from my sworn duty, I
fully intend to carry out my legal
responsibility on the DSS Board,"
said Williams.
"Even if the board of commis-
sioners did have some authority to
change the composition of the DSS
Board, removal of a board member
for exercising Constitutional rights
or without Constitutionally re-
quired due process and equal pro-
tection of the laws invalidates the
_ actions taken in your so-called
probable cause hearing or meet-
ing, ‘he Sad
"Cleveland County | is in a state
of rage because citizens clearly see
Robert A. Williams of Fallston
had good reason to question the
operation of the DSS," she said.
Allen said that Williams, in his
efforts to bring control and ac-
countability to the DSS, opened up
the Department to public inspec-
See Letter, 2-A
Developer David Matthews, Consortium for Progress members
John Henry Moss and Dean Westmoreland, developer Norman
Pulliam and former Senator Ollie Harris announce plans for a 64-bed
Summit Place of Kings Mountain.
BH
SE
“
Melvin Wright at 83 is still busy fashioning beautiful furniture in
Community with no plans to completely retire.
his shop in the Patterson Grove
Self-trained carpenter Wright
is still one of the hest around
By ELIZABETH STEWART
Of The Herald Staff
Unlike his contemporaries who
dream of retirement to the front
porch swing, Melvin Wright, 83,
belies his age.
The popular Patterson Grove
Community resident quit building
houses. at age 66 but his shop
across from his country farm is
busy with people ordering hand-
some bedroom suites, rolltop
desks, porch swings, cedar chests,
Grandfather clocks and you name
it.
He also took a bride last May
24, exchanging I do's with his
childhood sweetheart, Willie
Howell, after Wright's wife of 60
years, Elta, died and Willie's hus-
band of 57 years, Sam Howell,
died after a long illness.
Relaxing in their comfortable
home on Patterson Grove Road,
Melvin reminisced about giving
Willie a Valentine when he was a
seventh grader at Patterson Grove
School and she was a sixth grader.
"That was just too long to think
about," he said but Willie produced
the card which she said her mother
had kept in a jewelry box since the
day she brought it home from
school in 1927.
The boll weevil got Wright's cot-
ton crop in 1950 and he took a job
with Mauney Mills as the mainte-
nance man at Bonnie, Old Mill and
Mauney Cotton Mills, doing re-
pairs on mill-owned houses.
"I started working in the mill for
15 cents an hour and took home
about $9 a week but we always
raised vegetables and before the
boll weevil hit we were harvesting
about 45 bales of cotton every
year," said Wright.
Wright built a shop across the
street from the family homeplace
in 1946 and built his present house
in 1954, tearing down the old farm
house owned by his parents, David
and Pantha Hamrick Wright, where
he cared for his parents and his fa-
ther, who was blind, until their
deaths. Only the stately pecan trees
remain on the old home site.
Coincidentally, Wright and
Willie's former husband almost
worked together in the carpentry
business. Melvin needed an extra
carpenter for several house jobs
and Howell had finished up a job
and could help out.
Most folks in town will recall
that Wright was the professional
carpenter on the site of numerous
beautiful homes in the area, includ-
ing the homes of Dr. and Mrs. John
C. McGill, Wilson and Sara
See Wright, 3-A
    

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