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Lynching ruins PART party

You can’t makes this stuff up—a Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation employee comes to the company Halloween party dressed as rancher brandishing a lasso, which conjured images of lynching.

Offending employee has been suspended without pay and all PART employees are required to attend sensitivity training. Better that grown men and women –even if Halloween is on a Friday— don’t engage in such behavior on the taxpayers’ dime, no matter how they claim it’s “team-building exercise.” Great idea, says PART director Scott Rhine–next year’s Halloween party ain’t happening.

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Pressure on Keith Mabe building

N&R headline is somewhat misleading — it implies Rockingham County commissioners have formally requested that Chairman Keith Mabe step down following his DWI arrest over the weekend; instead it appears as though commissioners have talked among themselves and privately agreed that Mabe should step down:

“The commissioners have talked one-on-one and expressed concerns to me as a vice chair that they think Commissioner Mabe should step down as chairman, and I have relayed that message to Chairman Mabe and Chairman Mabe refused,” said Craig Travis, vice chairman of the board.

Mabe blames his arrest on “six doses of his dead aunt’s prescription of paregoric, a medication used to treat diarrhea, which he said has a 47.7 percent alcohol content and 2 percent morphine per 2 mL.” But for the first time, it’s reported that Mabe had “had glassy eyes, slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet” and that he emitted “strong odor of alcohol.”

Mabe earlier claimed he did not consume alcohol —other than the paregoric—-following his arrest. You know what they say —- it’s not so much the crime as the cover up. Stay tuned.

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Gboro council backs off security ordinance

At last night’s meeting, the Greensboro City Council voted 8-1 to put a 30-day moratorium on the entertainment facility security ordinance passed earlier this month:

Council members said they wanted time to revise the ordinance. They voted 8-1 to put a 30-day moratorium on the ordinance at the request of Councilwoman Yvonne Johnson.
“I think there are some really big issues that were brought up that were unintended consequences, and we do have to address them,” Mayor Nancy Vaughan said.

We’ll see what happens in 30 days, considering there are many issues to be worked out.

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Further sullying Gboro’s civil rights museum

International Civil Rights Center and Museum chief financial officer and interim president John Swaine is not a certified public accountant in North Carolina:

In 2008, the N.C. State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners ordered Swaine to stop calling himself a CPA while he was director of finance at Industries of the Blind in Greensboro.

The CPA board told Swaine to “immediately cease and desist from the use of the titles ‘certified public accountant’ or ‘CPA,’” or face a $1,000 fine for each violation.

Swaine signed an order agreeing to those terms.

Since then, he has referred to himself as a CPA in various places — including on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Question is should we be surprised that the museum’s CFO has a checkered employment history —Swaine filed lawsuits against former employers Industries of the Blind and Goodwill—given the financial mess that prompted Gboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan to propose that the city take over?

Some might also say this further sullies the museum’s reputation. With that in mind, N&R editor and publisher Jeff “Grits” Gauger expressed his concerns about the proposed city takeover:

Risk No. 1 is that, at a time when public discourse too often defaults to “government is always incompetent,” the museum would suffer from its association with city government, even if not deserved. The museum’s reputation has been sullied enough by financial difficulties and incompetent leadership.

The notion that the museum’s reputation can be further sullied is somewhat laughable, considering the fact that anyone who has observed the museum’s leadership over the years —-Earl Jones, Skip Alston and Deena Hayes-Greene —know that further sullying is a tough bid.

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Fired UNCG employee: Strike two

A second panel of UNCG staffers recommended fired employee Lyda Carpen not be rehired due to her “unacceptable personal conduct” of using a university laptop for freelance jobs. The final decision regarding Carpen’s professional will be made by Chancellor Linda Brady. Gee I wonder what her decision will be.

No matter —- Carpen’s attorney Seth Cohen is setting the stage for an appeal with the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings in Raleigh. Cohen has his angle, and it involves Vice Chancellor Paul Mason, whom Carpen accused of creating a hostile work environment:

Cohen said Carpen was told not to discuss those matters during her interview with the panel, nor to discuss officials complaints she made against Mason.
The panel, however, wrote that it “does not feel that Mr. Mason targeted Ms. Carpen but acted morally and ethically in reporting his findings.”
Cohen said the panel couldn’t possibly make such a determination without hearing from Carpen.
“She said nothing (to the panel) about it. She provided no evidence,” he said.
“How did they make that finding, and why did they make that finding?”

The third appeal will be a public hearing, and Cohen wants to put Mason on the stand to explain what kind of work environment he was creating.

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Hagan: That’s a wrap

Outgoing Sen. Kay Hagan delivers her farewell address on the Senate floor, her voice ‘cracking with emotion’ at times.

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Friendly Ave. development battle heating up –again

N&R reports an Atlanta-based developer is looking at what is described as “probably the most sought-after undeveloped retail corner in Greensboro” —-the corner of Friendly Avenue and Hobbs Road.

But previous development plans —-which possibly would have brought Trader Joe’s to Gboro –have met with opposition from nearby residents:

(Attorney Tom) Terrell said he and the developers have met twice with neighborhood groups.

But they haven’t met with Friendly Coalition, which plans to study Halpern’s proposal this weekend.

Scott Kinsey, a co-chairman of the Friendly Coalition, said he can’t speak for the group until after the meeting.

“It’s obvious the neighbors around there don’t want to see this rezoned, and I would hope the Planning Board and the City Council will take to heart what the residents have to say,” Kinsey said.

Stay tuned.

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Latest twist in Gboro civil rights museum saga

Big N&R front pager on the “last days” of International Civil Right Center and Museum director Lacy Ward. Reporter Joe Killian’s anonymous sources (don’t worry —N&R publisher and editor Grits Gauger signed off) say Ward wasn’t fired because he was being to frank about the museum’s dire financial position but because —wait for it —he was sexual harrasser:

…Ward’s detractors were wielding a new weapon: charges of inappropriate behavior with a female museum staffer, even of sexual harassment.

..The female employee at the center of the allegations against Ward was interviewed at least twice by groups of board members, including the board’s chairwoman, Deena Hayes-Greene.

According to one board member, the woman told those interviewing her that she never considered Ward’s behavior inappropriate. She told them she felt more pressure from the board to condemn Ward’s behavior than she ever felt from Ward himself, one board member and a museum employee close to the process said.

But just for good measure, museum board member Deena Hayes-Greene said Ward looked down her sister’s low-cut blouse at the Wyndham Championship. The museum’s old guard -Hayes-Greene, Earl Jones, Skip Alston and John Swaine —who brought the charges against Ward —-can’t call Ward a racist —the way they did Mayor Nancy Vaughan when she floated the plan for the city to take over the museum –because he’s already black. So the next available option is calling him a sexual harasser. Still, a cynic might worry if Killian’s anonymous sources were setting him up to plant the idea in the public’s mind that there was a reason to fire Ward, no matter how absurd it it.

What’s hilarious is the idea that that Ward’s alleged behavior could “besmirch the museum’s reputation.” Really.

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UNCG absurdity

Maybe –just maybe–I can understand a $400 fee for studio art students as part of an overall tuition and fee hike—- but $100 for art history majors?

Meanwhile, the Rhino’s John Hammer on fired UNCG employee Lyda Carpen’s efforts to get her job back:

Carpen, who is the supervisor who was charged with five felonies for signing inaccurate time cards for two photographers who worked for the department, will appear before a three-person panel as part of the formal grievance process concerning the appeal of her dismissal.

….Carpen, who is the supervisor who was charged with five felonies for signing inaccurate time cards for two photographers who worked for the department, will appear before a three-person panel as part of the formal grievance process concerning the appeal of her dismissal.

…Carpen is going through the appeal process to get her job back, but it appears to be going from the absurd to the more absurd. The three-person panel makes a recommendation to the chancellor or her designee, and then the chancellor or her designee decides whether to follow the recommendation of the three-member panel or not. Carpen is not allowed to be represented by an attorney in front of the panel.

UNCG Chancellor Linda Brady has made her opinion on this case very publicly known. She agreed with the decision not just to fire Carpen, but to have her arrested and charged with multiple felonies, and Brady publicly defended both those decisions. The courts didn’t see enough evidence of criminal wrong doing to even consider the case, but Brady did.

It is absurd for Brady – who clearly has made up her mind – to make the decision on Carpen.

Hammer reports Carpen’s attorney says Chancellor Brady “is the last person on the UNCG campus who should be making this decision.”

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Gboro downtown security ordinance

By an 8-1 vote, the Greensboro City Council approved an ordinance mandating that clubs “have dancing or live music and a capacity of more than 100 patrons will have to hire two off-duty, uniformed police officers for security or two armed security guards whose training has been certified as outlined by state statute.”

The ordinance is a response to recent violence downtown. Mayor Nancy Vaughan and council member Zack Matheny noted —-according to the N&R —that “the absence of club owners appearing to protest the change indicates that these businesses know there is a problem and find the new ordinance reasonable.”

But questions remain, as active commenter Don Moore points out:

A good attorney should have this easily overturned, as it discriminates by exempting some locations. Then you have the issue of available off-duty officers. At a minimum, we are potentially talking about 48 officers every Friday and Saturday night until the clubs get their people up to speed. I don’t believe there are enough officers wanting overtime (for that time and duty) to fill that need.

We’ll see how this plays out.

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