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Letter to the editor
Commissiener is out of line
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Forsyth County News
I am growing more concerned by the day with Patrick Bell’s conduct as commissioner. Rather than the occasional gaff, he is demonstrating a pattern of highly volatile, unprofessional behavior. He has publicly called a fellow commissioner an idiot, used profanity in public meetings, discussed sensitive personnel issues in the media, requested an outside auditing firm to tone down its independent report conclusions, questioned a sitting U.S. Congressman’s faith, and demonized his opponents.

Quite a feat when you consider that he hasnt even been in office two years. Ironic, too, that he operates a mediation firm. That’s like asking Bill Clinton to be your marriage counselor.

Recently, Commissioner Bell supported the campaign of Pete Amos, which he had every right to do. Yet he went after Amos’ opponent, Brant Meadows, with vicious personal attacks. Meadows, a planning commissioner, ran into some problems getting information from Planning Director Jeff Chance about a questionable zoning. To get his answers, Meadows submitted an open records request for Chance’s taxpayer owned e-mails — which revealed pornographic and racially charged correspondence both originated and received by Chance.

Subsequent questioning revealed suspect management practices by Chance, including his use of profanity-laced language with his subordinates in order to motivate them. If an employee for my company were discovered to do these things, he would be fired on the spot.

When presented with this evidence of misconduct — which exposed our county’s vulnerability to Title VII, sexual harassment, and hostile work environment lawsuits — how did Commissioner Bell respond?  He defended Chance — in the media, no less. He must have assumed that the public would never actually read the e-mails. He then demonized Meadows for conducting a witch hunt. Now he wants to punish Meadows by removing him from his post four months early.  Perhaps Bell should instead consider hiring Chance as an employee for his mediation firm.

There is great irony in Bell’s 2008 campaign strategy. His message was “I’m not David Richard.” Yet his words and actions have already far exceeded the misdeeds for which he faulted his predecessor.

Chris Goldston