Why one commissioner voted for county employees to keep pay raise

Dear Editor,

It concerns me that the Concerned Citizens left some county employees’ names out of the Mitchell News-Journal last week. For example, Phillip Castro. He was hired as a county employee last February. Mr. Castro is retired from Baxter’s and he is the brother-in-law of Roger Wilson, president of the Mitchell County CSE (Citizens for a Sound Economy).

Commissioners Keith Masters, Jim Saylor and Mike Hensley voted to hire Mr. Castro within five minutes of the first mention that the board would even “consider” hiring an Acting County Manager. Neither myself nor Commissioner Hollifield were given the chance to speak to or meet Mr. Castro.

Mr. Castro was hired at a cost to the taxpayers of $20 per hour, plus FICA at 1.56 per hour. Mr. Castro was instructed that he could work any hours he wanted, up to 39 hours per week. That equals $43,662.84 per year.

It concerns me that Clerk of Court Teddy McKinney, CSE member and a state employee, was budgeted $12,000 by the county. Now $6,020 of this is being used to buy more furniture.

It concerns me that this Board of Commissioners would then take back $43,925 in raises that were budgeted. This would have helped all 161 experienced county employees that need their jobs. This is not only bad business, it’s just not right.

This sounds more like a different organization, Citizens for a Selfish Economy. Most of the members of the CSE that I know are conservative. They would not have done this to themselves or to their neighbors.

I will not be intimidated, nor will I allow anyone to threaten or intimidate our county employees. Everyone has the right to be at these meetings and to participate in them. It is everyone’s business, not just a select few.

I am not issuing a challenge, just an invitation, an invitation for everyone to come and participate in the next meeting. It’s your money and it’s your meeting. The next County Commissioners’ meeting is Monday, Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. at the County Administration Building in Bakersville.

Phillip Byrd

Mitchell County Commissioner