The Conservative Red Wall, a 3-commissioner majority (Brian Helms, Melissa Merrell, Stony Rushing) on the 5- person Board of County Commissioners in Union County NC, has immediately acted in their inaugural meeting to keep the promises they made during the election.
Their first act was to terminate the employment of the long-time County Manager Mark Watson. Although Watson has been credited for contributing to an award-winning workplace in terms of employee satisfaction, there is clear evidence in the Union County budget of extremely wasteful spending. Since the County Manager serves at the pleasure of the board, the Red Wall majority decided to let him go because he does not share their small-government vision for Union County.
In their second meeting, they kept their promise to lower water and sewer rates. The minority members of the board, Richard Helms and David Williams, objected strenuously – predicting fiscal doom for Union County. Richard Helms even went so far as to publicly accuse Melissa Merrell of being a “puppet”. Considering the proportion of the budget that the rate decrease represents, this reaction seems strange to say the least.
The new board also voted to secure a 10-year lease on the property that the previous board had slated for a new sewer plant, despite strong objections from local residents. The lease has the effect of putting a halt to the new sewer plant.
Lastly, the board directed staff to bifurcate the budget for UCPS and Union County, as it was until a few years ago.
In their third meeting on the 19th, the Red Wall voted for an independent investigation of matters relating to former County Manager Mark Watson.