By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Official may be evicted
Commissioners bicker over county office space
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News

An outgoing Forsyth County commissioner is trying to get a colleague removed from his office -- literally.

Commissioner David Richard said Commission Chairman Charles Laughinghouse occupies the building's largest office, one that would be better suited for the county manger or other full-time staff member.

The issue has not sat well with Laughinghouse.

"I think it's a bunch of petty nonsense by a guy who's got nothing better to do than stir the pudding instead of worrying about trying to keep the county on an even keel," he said.

Laughinghouse said the item, labeled "office reallocation," has been postponed for two consecutive commission meetings. It likely will be addressed at Tuesday's work session.

Richard said he will make the motion that the Laughinghouse's office be dedicated to the county manager.

"I suspect I'll have two other votes on this item," he said, hinting that Commissioners Linda Ledbetter and Brian Tam would side with him.

Ledbetter confirmed Thursday that she will.

"I'm with Dave on this one," she said. "The county manager's there all the time. The county manager should have the largest office and the deputy county manager should have the next largest."

Neither Tam nor Doug Derrer, who is serving as interim county manager in the wake of Rhonda Poston-O'Connor's recent firing, could be reached for comment on the matter.

Laughinghouse said he questioned the issue's timeliness.

"If it's so important, you have to wonder how come he didn't raise this issue when Jeff Quesenberry was county manager or [David] Armstrong or O'Connor," he said. "Why bring it up when you're a dead duck, lame duck?"

Richard, who lost his bid for re-election in the July 15 Republican primary, stressed the responsibility of the county manager's job.

"Department heads report to the manager and the deputy county manager," he said. "They have the need to have multiple meetings in their office on an ongoing basis. The county manager is there all the time, the commissioners are not."

Ledbetter said the issue goes way back. She said former County Administrator Stevie Mills occupied the office until his resignation in May 2004.

"[Former Chairman] Jack Conway decided to take that office," Ledbetter said. "That infuriated Charlie and Dave at the time, and they were on the losing end of a 3-2 vote. They both said when they were back in control they would put the county manager back in that office.

"When Charlie came into control of the board," Ledbetter continued, "he decided he liked it and he kept the office and Dave's been mad ever since."

Laughinghouse said the issue is sour grapes.

"I think [Dave's] a bitter young man who threw away what could have been a promising political career because he couldn't keep his mouth shut or his fingers off the keyboard," Laughinghouse said. "He wants to make everybody else suffer for his follies."

Richard, who will be succeeded in January by either Republican Patrick Bell or Democrat Jon Flack, contends that he wants to "set the offices right" for whoever takes the post of county manager.

Poston-O'Connor was fired in September. The board has not taken any steps to find a permanent replacement.