I am a former employee of the town of Dobson and would like to address the issue all the candidates in the upcoming election seem to be ignoring.
I have read the recent articles “Candidates Offer Reason for Seeking Office.” I found when asked the question “What would be your top three priorities if you are elected to office?” none of the candidates mentioned Dobson’s lack of permanent leadership in the Town Manager role.
I worked for the town for almost eight years. During that time I’ve seen that leadership in the Town Manager role as being very important in order for the town to move forward. I agree with most of the candidates’ observations that the town has made progress over the last few years. However, I do not agree with how the current board is handling the situation of Town Manager, Lynn Burcham, and her administrative leave.
The citizens of Dobson should know the town is still paying Mrs. Burcham while she is under investigation by the SBI and paying an interim Town Manager. The citizens of Dobson should ask their candidates how they plan to handle this situation. The citizens of Dobson should know the town commissioners elected in November will most likely be the ones deciding how this issue will be handled. Citizens should be asking the candidates and current Commissioners their views and how they plan to proceed with the Town Manager situation.
An article published in The Mount Airy News in May quoted Commissioner Gerri Martín as stating “I don’t think she’s guilty of embezzlement, but (instead) guilty of poor decision making.” The article also reported that later, what appeared to be the same town commissioner speaking also said, “I want her to stay in her job, nobody is going to come do a better job.” Mayor Ricky K. Draughn said, “I want to give her the benefit of a doubt.” I would like to point out, these comments were made after evidence was given to be presented to the Town Commissioners of Mrs. Burcham (allegedly) using town funds for various personal uses. Further evidence was presented showed that Mrs. Burcham would repay the (alleged) “loan” at a later date.
In my opinion, this was allowed because Mrs. Burcham was in control of how the town’s daily finances were handled and she had no oversight. When presented with this information, it appears to me, the Town Commissioners tried to protect Mrs. Burcham instead of having the citizens of Dobson’s best interest at heart. In my opinion, most businesses frown upon employees using company funds for personal use.
The town needs to continue on a path of progress and, therefore, needs responsible leaders who will exercise good judgment and make fiscally responsible decisions. So when considering who to vote for, please make an informed decision and vote for who will put Dobson’s interest in front of their own personal interests.
Crystal P. Grant,
Former Town Secretary