Dear Mr. Bailey
Published 1:39 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2016
In response to Walt Bailey’s column I offer the following facts:
I am a voter and taxpayer in Charlotte County. I don’t think I must be born or educated in the county to ask for transparency and accountability from our elected officials. However, if you think where I grew up matters, I graduated from Wylliesburg Elementary and Randolph-Henry High. My mother’s family (Robertson) have lived in the county since the late 1700s, and my father’s side (Morgan) since the 1800s. So, even using your criteria, I have a right to speak out for a change in the way the supervisors do things.
When and why did I get involved in this? I got involved recently. I read an article in The Charlotte Gazette from a former R-HHS student which raised valid questions. I started looking online in minutes and attended a board meeting. I found out very little. I spoke to the supervisors and emailed them. I had no response. I spoke at the February, March, April regular meetings at 1:30 p.m. and at a budget meeting. My questions and concerns go unanswered.
I asked for credit card statements and receipts under the Freedom of Information Act. I had to pay $107.13 for these copies, but I felt it was important to see documentation of expenses. Is Travel and Education necessary in business? Yes, but if it is legitimate expenses documentation should be noted (who attended, business purpose, etc.) The IRS requires it. There are many details on these receipts that I believe would upset the concerned taxpayer. As just one example, it’s impossible to tell what beverages were consumed. At the May 10th meeting I passed out copies of the some receipts to the supervisors. I read to them from IRS guidelines and the State of Virginia code defining Abuse, Fraud and Waste.
I told the supervisors that it was wrong for them to approve these invoices for payment without documentation. Yet they still went ahead and approved the payment. (Garland Hamlet was not in attendance due to illness). The other six voted “Aye”; no questions asked.
Bailey stated that these supervisors were friends, neighbors. He stated that presidents and governors travel. Here’s the bottom line as I see it: It doesn’t matter if you are a friend, neighbor, president or governor — if you break laws or don’t fulfill your duties of office you can be removed from office and/or have legal action taken against you.
This discussion about meals is just the tip of the iceberg about what’s wrong, I believe. I hope the citizens of Charlotte County will take notice of what is going on and demand accountability and transparency.
Kay Pierantoni is a Wylliesburg resident. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.