Town board investigation concludes

This investigation was not just about the mayor, and her son, as the stories will point out. Don’t confuse it for a witch hunt. They found “no ethical violations” in the run-up to coercing a sale of town property. And for what it is, they found that apparently no one: mayor, son, or five other board members, violated ethics policies. The investigation does point out some town staff whiffed on following some protocols about preparing the board for the initial presentations, but that will be glossed over and forgotten before long because “they meant well.” It usually is, until the “they meant wells” pile up too high.

The finding of “no ethical violations” also proves that all the rigamarole last fall about town staff not attending some ethics training, like most newspaper complaints since, was blown out of proportion to its significance because the ones who didn’t attend the “training” did not violate any ethics policies either, according to the investigation. So we’ve got that going for us: a year’s worth of yellow rag journalism about “well-orchestrated conspiracies” has turned out to be wrong

There have been plenty of ethical questions since, though. Like leading someone to believe something is a slam-dunk because you can’t imagine otherwise in the first place. Like town officials deleting comments from their public official social media pages. Like town officials walking out of meetings. Like town officials stopping discussion when they do not like where they assume the discussion is headed. Like town officials repeatedly sharing newspaper stories that demean groups of commissioners with manufactured fictions. It’s all been long enough with town officials blaming most of the board for doing the job that citizens elected them to do.

What “team” has individuals making individual rogue decisions, unchecked? On what “team” does alternate opinions deserve such reprisal from the figurehead manager? Which of your favorite historic town/state/national leaders ran on emotions? Which managers blame the team for their mistakes? Sure, ball teams can win a pennant on emotions, but the next season is always around the corner, looming, way longer than the last few weeks. No teams that have a splintered management staff off doing their own thing have long-term success. But there are plenty of also-ran teams with petty, angry coaches who love padding their stats and telling you what a great job they are doing. Even if the team ends up with no wins and no fans, they will hang on like grim death to their career stats and hope for a spot in the Hall of Fame. And if they do not get enough votes, well that’s your fault, too.

In division, everything becomes gray areas and confusion because, in time, petty leaders will gloss over anything they do wrong. And the team and the fans will get tired of the petty infighting and bitterness and lose interest in the game as a whole. That’s how political sharks thrive, in the manipulative darkness of the apathy they usually create. Hope Mills deserves better. Nothing’s ever going to be perfect from either side, but if you’re not trying to learn from your mistakes and trying to make your team a better team, whatever team it is, you never will.

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