LETTER: Letters were unbecoming of county commissioners

Feb. 07, 2014 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

I was dumbfounded and dispirited, to say the least, in reading the letters to the editor from two of our county commissioners. I am not personally acquainted with Mr. Kirk Smith, Mr. James Womack or Mr. Jay Calendine. I reread Mr. Calendine’s Feb. 1 letter to try to ascertain what he had said to incite such responses. I found nothing, other than that he disagreed with statements made by the commissioners.

Mr. Womack and Mr. Smith deliberately chose to offer themselves for public office. One would hope they understood there would be some in the community who would disagree with them. Likewise, Mr. Womack should understand that the board of education, like the commissioners, was elected by the citizens of Lee County to represent their interests. He accuses the BOE of “trickery” in its handling of SRO funds and assumes he is correct in that assessment since “…I haven’t heard a single BOE official accuse us of anything … .” Why the inflammatory language? Simply because he occupies the bully pulpit does not require him to use it.

As for Mr. Smith, I find the tenor of his letter offensive, especially in light of his position as an elected public official. He engaged in a personal attack on Mr. Calendine for no apparent reason other than that he disagrees with him. A kind characterization of Mr. Smith’s letter would be to call it a “rant;” an honest characterization would be to call it arrogant and condescending.

Regardless of one’s political persuasion, Mr. Smith’s letter is not becoming of an elected county commissioner. Mr. Smith owes Mr. Calendine an apology, not for his disagreement, but for the manner in which he expressed it.

This is not the first occasion I recall such outbursts from our commissioners. I guess the days when elected officials were community leaders who sought to serve all of their constituents and to willingly listen to all viewpoints are past. The letters written by Mr. Smith and Mr. Womack were no evidence of leadership.

Eddie S. Winstead III